Kazuyoshi Miura: the oldest footballer in the world that still plays at 53

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Kazuyoshi Miura has been the talk of the world of football since he renewed his contract with Japan Soccer League club, Yokohama FC, on Monday, January 11, 2021. The one-year contract extension he signed with the Japanese club has extended his record as the oldest professional footballer in the world at 53-year-old.

The former Japan national team striker who will turn 54-year-old on February 26, started his professional football career in 1986 for a Brazilian club, Santos. After playing for a series of other Brazilian clubs, Kazuyoshi Miura returned to Japan in 1990 to continue with his football career.

In Japan, he played mostly for Tokyo Verdy between 1990 and 1998, and then for Vissel Kobe between 2001 and 2005, before he moved to Yokohama FC in 2005. Since he has been playing for Yokohama, he has made a total of 293 appearances, scoring 27 goals and provided 3 assists.

However, he enjoyed the best of his club football career while playing for Tokyo Verdy where he won virtually everything in Japanese club football including two Japan Soccer League titles, two J1 League titles, three J.League Cup, and one Emperor’s Cup. He scored a total of 106 goals and provided an assist in 179 appearances for Tokyo Verdy.

His best period as Japan national team striker came in 1992 when he led the country to win the AFC Asian Cup and became the first Japanese footballer to win the IFFHS Asian Player of the Year that same year. He retired from international football in 2000.

Kazuyoshi Miura in action for Yokohama FC.
Kazuyoshi Miura in action for Yokohama FC.

Though Kazuyoshi Miura has managed to help Yokohama FC to win just the J2 League title in 2006, the club has helped him to set a series of records that might take a very long time to break.

Besides the fact that the club allowed Kazuyoshi Miura to become the oldest player to sign a professional football contract on Monday, the club gave him four appearances in 2020 which made him the oldest player in the world to play a professional football game at 53 years and nine months old.

More so, he is the only footballer in the history of football that played professional football in five separate decades (the 1980s-2020s).

In March 2017, Kazuyoshi Miura broke Stanley Matthews’ record by becoming the oldest footballer to score a goal in a professional match at 50 and 14 days old.

“Last season, I was feeling the joy of playing football at a time when the world was facing a tough situation because of the new coronavirus,” Miura who is also known as “King Kazu” said in a statement.

“Personally it was not a satisfactory season, but my ambition and enthusiasm towards football are increasing,” he added.

“I will work hard every day, aiming to contribute to the team’s victory this season by playing as many games as possible.”

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