Kazuyoshi Miura is the world's oldest ever professional football player Photo: AFP

Golden oldie 'King Kazu' renews contract before 52nd birthday

By Toru Yamanaka

Former Japan striker Kazuyoshi Miura, who turns 52 next month, has extended his record as the J.League's oldest player after renewing his contract with Yokohama FC, the club said.

The veteran footballer, admiringly nicknamed "King Kazu" for his spirited onfield style, will kick off his 34th career season this year, the second division club announced Friday.

"I thank fans for supporting me all the time," Miura said in a brief statement. "I want to work out at full stretch every day... and play as many games as possible by making every minute count."

In 2017, Miura surpassed football's previous professional longevity record and became the oldest player to score a competitive goal in a professional match. Both records were previously held by English legend Stanley Matthews.

Last year he played nine games for Yokohama but failed to score.

Miura left Japan for Brazil in 1982 and signed a contract with Santos FC in 1986 to make his professional debut.

He made his Japan debut in 1990 and pushed for the country's first ever World Cup appearance in 1998 but failed to join the final squad for France despite scoring 55 goals in 89 games for the national side.

He was one of the stars of the professional J.League at its 1993 launch before joining Italy's Genoa on loan the following year.

Miura, who has played for Yokohama since 2005, has said he wants to play on until he turns 60.

Yokohama lost in the first division play-offs last year. Their 2019 season kicks off on Feb 24.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Amazing King Kazu! He is fitter in his 50s than most people in their 20’s! One of the best Japanese players ever, along with Honda and Nakata.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

My knee's gave up my early 30s, so had to give football up :(

I salute you, Sir !

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Signed for publicity, no way is a 52 year old as competitive as people half his age. Good luck to him but if his name wasn't Kazu he'd be looking for work.

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Ganbare Japan!: "Amazing King Kazu! He is fitter in his 50s than most people in their 20’s! One of the best Japanese players ever..."

A good player, perhaps, but hogwash that he is in good shape just because he was resigned at his age. Japanese athletes love to do this -- stay one well beyond their prime, and be hailed at home for it while they become mediocre at best (if they were beyond that to start with). Kimiko Date-Krumm, while admirable that she kept playing for the love of it, didn't exactly win any blowouts in her last 10 or more years at the sport. Ichiro... how's he doing these days? And who was the other Japanese player who insisted on staying on then his knees blew, and he had to come back to Japan where he was given a record contract by the Hanshin Tigers (before quietly not really playing beyond a few games)?

Nakata was indeed a fine player, and he knew when to get out. Honda, on the contrary, is not as great as the media is and has pushed, and is past his prime but is already talking about wanting to appear in the Olympics again, etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Agree Honda is overhyped. Good for attracting Japanese eyeballs but nothing else. Nakata, is was and likely for a long time to come the best soccer player out of Japan.

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