Former European national team member Park Joo-ho, who decided to take off his soccer boots, could not hide his laughter at the worry of his eldest daughter, Park Na-eun.안전놀이터
Park Joo-ho played his last game as an active player in the 17th round Suwon FC-Ulsan Hyundai confrontation of ‘Hana 1 Q K League 1 2023’ held at Suwon Sports Complex on the 6th.
Park Joo-ho, who debuted as a professional player in 2008, announced on the 26th of last month that he had decided to retire from active play. Suwon decided to hold his retirement ceremony on June 6 in line with Park Joo-ho’s uniform number 6.
Park Joo-ho, who made his professional debut in the J-League in Japan, played for FC Basel, Mainz, and Borussia Dortmund from 2011 to 2017, and has been active in Europe for a long time. He wore the Taegeuk mark in the Korean national soccer team and played 40 A matches and scored one goal.
Park Joo-ho, who returned to the Korean K-League in 2018, played for Ulsan until 2020 and played as a Suwon FC player from 2021.
Park Joo-ho, who is playing the 2023 season as a veteran of Suwon, is in the middle of the season, but as he decides to retire from active duty, he decides to leave the ground he has been playing for 16 years.
Many fans came to the stadium that day to support Park Joo-ho’s new start. At the 6th minute of the first half, the fans clapped and shouted for 60 seconds, shining Park Joo-ho’s retirement match.
Although Suwon suffered a 1-3 come-from-behind loss to Ulsan, the last game of his active career was not crowned with victory, but Park Joo-ho, who played as a starter that day, played a game with no regrets as he roamed the field until he was replaced in extra time in the second half.
After the game, Park Joo-ho attended a press conference and sincerely answered questions fans were curious about, including why he decided to retire even though he was still able to play full-time.
The following is Park Joo-ho’s Q&A.
- First, please tell us about your retirement.
It wasn’t easy for him to retire because he was in the middle of the season, but he feels comfortable now that he has made the decision. He thinks it was the best choice. It would have been nice if we had gotten the results in today’s game, but we did our best against the strong team Ulsan. He finished his 16-year professional career with hard work and best efforts.
-If you were to give a score when you look back on your past active career, how many points would you give out of 100?
I kept achieving what I set out to do and I kept challenging myself. He is a character with no regrets. When I was a player, I always gave 60 to 70 points, but today I finished with no regrets, so I want to give 100 points.
-I can’t help but ask about the background that made you decide to retire.
I’ve been thinking about retiring since last year. When he was a little better and could go to the game, he thought he would like to retire inside the playground. My wife was not feeling well last year, and I hated that if I retired, it would look like I was retiring because of her. Personally, I decided to retire because I thought it was too much for me while playing this season.
- Suwon’s performance (9th in the league) is not so good. I don’t think it was easy to decide to retire in this situation.
When I announced my intention to retire to the team, it was when I had not lost in 4 games in a row and was in 5th place. I thought that the players could do enough even if I missed it. Although the style is different, (Lee) Young-jae is discharged in the summer and reinforcements can be made in the summer transfer market, so I conveyed my thoughts to the manager (Kim Do-gyun). Since then, the team has been in a difficult situation with a losing streak, but I think we can overcome it.
- Please define what kind of player you were.
He was a player whose style was always changing. So, many coaches gave him various positions and appointed him. I’ve always been a player who did my best in any situation given to the team.
The best 11 was completed with only players interested in the Saudi Arabia Pro League.
On the 6th (local time), ‘Transfermarkt’, a soccer transfer site, made a best 11 with players rumored to be transferred with the Saudi Professional League. Among them are Cristiano Ronaldo (Al-Nasr), who is already active, and Karim Benzema (Al-Ittihad), who was officially announced that day.
Based on the 3-5-2 formation, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Chelsea) and Benzema were deployed as the front two tops. In the second line, there were Ronaldo, Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo) and Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain). Defensive midfielders include Sergio Busquets (FC Barcelona) and N’Golo Kante (Chelsea).
In defense, there were Jordi Alba (FC Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Paris Saint-Germain), and Hector Bellerin (Sporting CP), and the goalkeeper was Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hospur).
Most of them are players whose contracts with their current teams expire at the end of this month or have one year remaining. Busquets and Alba are likely to move to the Saudi Pro League.
Currently, the Saudi professional league is trying to recruit star players by offering huge sums of money to star players whose contracts are about to expire. It is known that the annual salary offered by Al Ittihad to Benzema is 200 million euros (approximately 280.5 billion won).