South Korean striker and 2002
World Cup star Ahn Jung-hwan announced his retirement from
professional football at a tearful news conference on Tuesday.
"No longer as a football player but as a head of a family
and as a fan of football, I will cheer on the Korean football. I
want to rest," an emotional Ahn told reporters.
The 36-year-old became a household name at the 2002 finals
when his extra-time header knocked Italy out in the round of 16
as the co-hosts advanced all the way to the semi-finals, where
they were eventually knocked out by Germany.
Ahn was on loan at Serie A side Perugia at the time and his
contract was cancelled by the club following his goal with their
owner Luciano Gaucci stating: "I have no intention of paying a
salary to someone who has ruined Italian football."
Ahn began his professional career in 1998 with Busan before
enjoying spells in Italy, Germany, France, Japan and China. He
represented South Korea at three World Cups, playing an active
role in 2002 and 2006 but was an unused substitute in 2010.
As well as his goal against Italy, Ahn scored against the
United States in a 2002 group match and added a third World Cup
goal against Togo at the 2006 tournament in Germany.
In Korea, Ahn was given the nickname 'Lord of the Ring' as
part of his goal celebration involved the player kissing his
wedding ring as a tribute to his wife, former Miss Korea Lee
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