Park: We all need to stop Messi

Park: We all need to stop Messi

Published May. 26, 2011 9:18 a.m. ET

Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung says the job of shackling World Footballer of the Year Lionel Messi cannot be left to one player.

The Barcelona forward, scorer of the crucial second in the Catalan club's 2009 Champions League final win over United, has hit 52 goals this season but that statistic highlights only part of his importance to the side.

His link play and trickery with the ball makes the Argentina international a threat anywhere in the opposition half and, for that reason, Park believes United have to get their team tactics spot on.

"He is one of the best players in the world - everyone knows that and everyone knows one defender can't stop him so we have to defend as a team," said the South Korea international, who was omitted from United's squad when they won the Champions League against Chelsea in 2008 but played the following year when they were defeated in Rome.


"We have to keep an eye on him in the game. Some players have said to me that I can stop him - that sounds great but one man can't stop him, we have to play as a team.

"Everyone will give 100% to stop him."

Messi's roving forward role is supplemented by the passing, movement and vision of Barcelona's midfield.

Their ability to retain possession of the ball is unmatched in world football and United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has to come up with a plan to disrupt their rhythm.

Park's non-stop running and high energy levels are bound to play a key role but the 30-year-old believes United have a few midfield stars of their own.

"I don't know which role I will have in the final but I have to do it 100% and play only for winning the game," he added.

"We have great midfielders as well: Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Anderson - they have great ability to stop them.

"If we play as a team like we showed against Chelsea (in their victorious title showdown at Old Trafford earlier this month), or in other big games we can match up against them.

"Javier Hernandez, Anderson and Nani have had great seasons and it is all about our squad being stronger (than it was at the start of the season) and that will help us in the final."