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Manchester United fans are wishing Park Ji-Sung a happy 40th birthday – but what happened to the last 10 players Sir Alex Ferguson sold?
The South Korean was everything supporters loved in a player – hard-working, ready to put his body on the line and do everything for the team.
It was no wonder Fergie loved him as much as the fans.
Park spent seven years at Old Trafford during a spell that saw four Premier Leagues, one Champions League, three League Cups and one Club World Cup won.
But the midfielder was let go in 2012 – so where are the other nine players Ferguson sold before retiring in 2013?
The last of the Fergie era to be sold by the big man – Dimitar Berbatov's time at United will forever be remembered for his nonchalant grace on the ball.
Deemed surplus to requirements after the arrival of Robin van Persie, the Bulgarian joined Fulham but could not keep them in the Premier League.
Further spells at Monaco, PAOK and Indian outfit Kerala Blasters under David James – where he played defensive midfield?! – followed before retiring in 2019.
The birthday boy himself was sold to QPR in 2012 but never replicated the same form he showed at United with injuries taking a toll.
He retired in 2014 and graduated from Leicester’s De Montfort University with an International MA in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport. Fair play!
He continues to work with United as a global ambassador.
Ritchie De Laet
The Belgian rarely featured for United, making just six appearances, before joining Leicester in 2012.
He was at the King Power Stadium as they battled in the Championship and then toiled in the Premier League.
But the defender was there as they won the league in one of the most special brilliant seasons of English football ever.
The midfielder’s story is similar to De Laet, though he played a more leading role in Leicester’s shock title win.
However, it has not gone too well since – joining Chelsea for £35m the following year but never getting a look in.
Bar fights, drink-driving charges and training pitch clashes were to come before being farmed out to Turkish outfit Kasimpasa on loan in January.
There is a sense of ‘what if?’ surrounding Darron Gibson’s career at United before he was sold in January 2012 to Everton.
Comparisons were made to Paul Scholes – particularly after a wonder-strike against Bayern Munich – but spells at Everton, Sunderland and Wigan were to come instead.
Injuries and off-field issues largely damaged his career but he is still playing, for Salford City in League Two.
Mame Biram Diouf
The striker’s United career started out well after scoring on his debut against Burnley but that was as good as it got.
Mame Biram Diouf was sold to Hannover 96 in 2012 before returning to England’s sunny shores in 2014 – with Stoke City.
He spent six years with the Potters scoring 25 times in 157 games before leaving for Turkey.
The Irishman had a long career at United, making 393 appearances before leaving for Sunderland in 2011.
And his love for the game did not end there, going on to play a further 256 times for the Black Cats.
A year at Reading followed before retiring, with a view to start coaching and he is currently Republic of Ireland Under-21’s assistant manager.
Another United stalwart, Wes Brown played 362 matches for the Red Devils before leaving with O’Shea for Sunderland.
The Englishman did not make half as many appearances in the north-east as his United buddy though – playing just 87 times over five years as injuries took their toll.
A short spell for Blackburn and Kerala Blasters with Berbatov followed before retiring in 2018.
The poor French fellow will probably go down as one of the biggest flops under Fergie.
However, following in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo was going to be tough for anyone.
Just one league goal was scored by the forward, who went on to play for Newcastle, Anzhi Makhachkala, Wigan, Levski Sofia and Erzurumspor – his best goal tally being four.
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The defender failed to make an appearance for United before leaving for Hull in 2011.
However, injuries were to hit Joe Dudgeon hard as he was forced to retire at the age of 24.
He has found work as scouting account manager for New York City and Melbourne City and he has admitted he is as passionate as ever.
“I still love football,” Dudgeon said in 2020. “If it had ended badly, the image would’ve been tarnished. I might not have wanted to deal with football anymore. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to stay involved.”
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