Oldest professional footballer pens new contract

51 year old Yokohama FC striker Kazuyoshi Miura[Photo:Courtesy]

They say age is just a number especially in the field of professional football. Kazuyoshi Miura who is probably the first Japan football superstar signed a new one-year contract with Japanese 2nd division side Yokohama FC at the age of 51 for his 33rd season in professional football.

Kazuyoshi started his career at the age of six at Jonouchi Football club. At the age of 15 in the year 1982, Kazuyoshi left for Brazil in search of a football club and he got an opportunity which he grabbed ad joined Clube Atletico Juventus. Four years later, he signed his first professional contract with Brazilian side Santos FC, the same club legendary Pele spent most part of his career.

Miura came back to his home country to sign for Yomiuri FC. Known to his fans as Kazu or King Kazu, Miura’s rise coincided with the launch of J-League in 1993, becoming the first Japanese player to win Asian Footballer of the Year.

Signing for Genoa, Miura also became the first Japanese footballer to play in Italy scoring his only goal in the Genoa derby. The 51-year-old also played in few other clubs including Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb and A League side Sydney FC before finally settling at Yokohama FC in 2005.

Kazu has scored incredible 55 goals in 89 appearances for his country. Kazu biggest contribution to his country came in the year 1997, when he scored 14 goals to help his team in qualifying for France 1998 World Cup which was Japan’s first appearance in the football’s grandest stage.

King Kazu hanged up his boots from international football in 2000 but his legs are still strong and running around in the club circuit. Kazu signed up for Yokohama FC at the age of 38, an age when most footballers retire and since then he has made more than 250 appearances.

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