South Korean superstar Park Chu-Young has apologised for letting down the fans after his decision to defer his compulsory military service caused major controversy and his axing from the national team.
The 26-year-old Arsenal striker held a press conference on Wednesday morning, after national boss Choi Kang-Hee had previously called on him to justify his decision to obtain a Monaco residency visa, allowing him to defer his military duty.
Choi had overlooked Park for the recent South Korea games, while the player himself had avoided the spotlight following the drama after much public criticism. However, Park attempted to clear the air on Wednesday, with his participation at the 2012 London Olympics now appearing likely, while his national team future may soon change too.
"I understand there was a massive controversy since I have postponed my military service. I first want to apologise to all the people who have felt left down by me," Park said at the press conference.
"When I played for AS Monaco I was able to learn a lot of new things about football. I wanted to stay in Europe further to learn more so I decided to postpone my service."
Park had been criticised for being unpatriotic with his decision and thus unworthy of a national team spot, however he insisted he would still fulfill his compulsory military duty.
"I have no intention to leave Korea nor evade the military service. I have already written a pledge that I will fulfill my duties with the Military Manpower Administration," he said. "I have already promised several times that I will carry out my national service, and I really will."
He added: "I want to apologise to all the armymen who are serving the nation at this moment."
Korea's Olympic team coach Hong Myung-Bo sat next to Park at the press conference and indicated he's now likely to select him as an over-age player for the 2012 games in London.
"I had a talk with Park after the Syria match on the seventh. I didn't persuade him to have this press conference but left it just to him," Hong said. "I came out to this press conference because of my philosophy. I want to be a manager who gives out everything for my players and team. I had to come out today for my team."