Park Ji-Sung has revealed that frog juice is the bizarre secret behind the lung-bursting energy that makes the South Korean a key part of Manchester United’s bid to beat Barcelona in the Champions League final on Saturday.
After showing promise as a schoolboy footballer, Park’s progress was in danger of stalling because he lacked the physique required to cope with the demands on a top player’s body. In a bid to fast-track Park’s growth, his father would make the long journey from their home in Suwon to Go-heung county, where he would visit frog farms to gather the ingredients for an unusual protein drink.
Once back home, the frog’s juice would be boiled up before Park gamely swallowed it down.
“My father went to catch wild frogs. I was skinny and weak and my father heard their juice would give me size and strength,” Park said.
“It tasted very, very bad but I had to drink it because I wanted to be a footballer and everyone said I needed to be bigger and stronger.
Hungarian referees for Wembley final
Hungarian Viktor Kassai will referee this weekend’s Champions League final, UEFA announced on Thursday.
Kassai, 35, refereed five Champions League games this season and will be assisted by countrymen Gabor Eros and Gyorgy Ring with the fourth official Istvan Vad and the two additional assistant referees Mihaly Fabian and Tamas Bognar.
Abidal returns to France squad
Eric Abidal was named to the France squad on Thursday for the first time since he underwent surgery on a liver tumour. The Barcelona left back was included to face Belarus in a Euro 2012 qualifier next week, as well as Poland and Ukraine in friendlies.
Fulham given Europa league berth
Fulham will play in the Europa League next season after being awarded a place on Thursday under the Premier League’s Fair Play League.
England received an additional Europa League place for next season after finishing second in UEFA’s national fair-play table. Chelsea finished on top.