Ex-Guangzhou Evergrande coach Lee Jang-Soo has revealed he lied to his former club to foil their proposed move for Park Ji-Sung for the benefit of South Korean football.
The South Korean coach, who was dismissed by the Chinese champions in May to make way for Marcello Lippi, confirmed Evergrande had targetted the former Manchester United midfielder.
Goal.com reported in July last year that Guangzhou had made an audacious bid for Park's services, offering to double his Manchester United salary on a deal worth €8 million per season.
Lee confirmed Guangzhou had asked him to persuade Park, however he explained he didn't want his talented compatriot to play in the Super League and therefore thwarted the move in the name of Korean football.
"Park is a talent which you find once every 100 years, he is the flag of Korea football," Lee told JTBC. "He should never play in the CSL in comparison to a high-level European league.
"The club gave me some pressure, so I had to tell a lie. I told them Park has no desire to play in China. I felt a little sorry for that."
Lee, who remains without a coaching job since leaving Evergrande, also later said he believed "Chinese football would never catch Korea".