Park out to make headlines for right reasons

AFP| Updated: May 18, 2014, 10:47 AM IST

Seoul: Park Chu-Young`s career has lurched from early promise to national controversy but the resurgent striker will be hoping to rebuild his image with a positive World Cup for South Korea.

The 28-year-old completed a dream move from Monaco to Arsenal in 2011 but instead of success, he made only one Premier League appearance and off the pitch became embroiled in a row over his compulsory military service.

Head bowed, Park made a public apology in 2012 for taking a 10-year Monaco residency visa which allowed him to defer his stint in the military -- a deeply controversial move in a country still technically at war with North Korea.

Things were not going much better at Arsenal and after failing to break through, he was loaned to Celta Vigo -- where he became the first Korean player to score in La Liga -- and then Watford.

Meanwhile Park sparkled at the 2012 Olympics, under now-national coach Hong Myung-Bo, where he scored in South Korea`s 2-0 win over Japan in the bronze medal match.

But injuries struck this year and his chances of playing in Brazil looked remote, especially after Hong insisted he would only pick players who are getting regular club games.

But the manager, desperate for goals, decided to make an exception when he called up Park for a friendly against Greece in March.

And the striker responded by scoring the opener in a 2-0 win -- his first international goal since November 2011, and in his first game for Korea in more than a year.

Although Park only played the first half, he showed the poise and flair that once made him one of football`s rising stars.

Now Park, South Korea`s top-scorer with 24 goals in 62 internationals, can complete his rehabilitation by playing a leading role in Brazil, where South Korea will face Algeria, Belgium and Russia in Group H.

Success on the field may also help repair ties with the press, with whom he has a fractious relationship -- although he insists the frostiness is nothing personal.

"I don`t dislike the press the way it`s been portrayed in some corners," he told reporters in April. "I just think it`s enough for players to let their actions do the talking."

A strong performance in Brazil will surely speak volumes, especially in an unflashy Korean side which needs Park`s goals after some unimpressive performances in qualifying.

Park Chu-Young, South Korea, Arsenal, Hong Myung-Bo, Algeria, Belgium, North Korea, EPL, Brazil, English Premier League, Football news, FIFA World Cup 2014