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Pirlo Can Be Stopped, Just Ask Park

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Andrea Pirlo has had a fantastic Euro 2012 tournament, not that anyone would have bet against him doing so. But it has been great for another player seemingly in the limelight of their career to go to do a tournament and shine once again.

Strutting his stuff and still as technically-gifted as ever, Pirlo hasn’t showed his age and unlike a few of England’s players have improved in games as they’ve gone on, grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck. In a way it’s looked too easy for him…

…Of course though it hasn’t been easy. Pirlo’s been supported well by Danielle De Rossi, Claudio Marchisio and Ricardo Montalivio in midfield and has had time to take a breather in games before whipping his trademark long-ball through starting up attack after attack.

It has been said that Pirlo cannot be controlled. However he can. It is worth remembering Park Ji-Sung’s performance against him at Old Trafford back in a Champions League last 16 tie at Old Trafford which Manchester United won 4-0.

Back that day Park was ordered by Sir Alex Ferguson to keep tight on the Italian not giving him an inch of space on the ball. Park to his credit turned on the ‘hustling and bustling’ and kept the World Cup winner quiet as United strolled to a 4-0 win.

Park it would be fair to say suffered a disappointing season last year. He is no longer a first choice anymore, not that he was one anyway and looked tired in the second-half of the season, none more so than against Manchester City in the run-in.

His mission that night was to work hard and get stuck into City’s midfield whilst getting forward to help with United’s attack as Sir Alex lined the side up 4-5-1. Sadly the Korean was never at the races really and was substituted early into the second half in a game that City saw out on their way to winning the league.

Park is a player that has given a lot to the cause after joining from PSV Eindhoven and is someone who has sacrificed a lot to ply his trade in Europe. It can’t be easy to be so far away from home from his friends and family and he has never once moaned about not being a guaranteed-starter, not even after being omitted from the Champions League final squad in 2008.

This is a big year for Park who needs to bounce back from a frustrating season. He will no doubt help Shinji Kagawa along in developing to the pace and culture of the Premier League. With his contract due to run out next summer, it will likely be his final season at Old Trafford, so let’s hope for his sake he can make the most of it.

By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87