50 not out? Evergreen Japan football great Miura signs new contract aged 48
Ex-international ‘King Kazu’ ready to extend professional career into 31st year
Twinkle-toed former Japan striker Kazuyoshi Miura plans to push on with his illustrious J-League career after signing a new deal with Yokohama FC – at the ripe old age of 48.
The league's oldest player, known by his fans and local media as “King Kazu”, will stay with the second division club past his 49th birthday after proving he still has some fairy dust in his boots by scoring three goals in his 16 appearances this season.
“I'm grateful to the club officials and supporters who have supported me throughout,” Miura said after extending his professional career into a 31st year. “I will continue to give everything I have.”
Although the pin-up looks have been replaced by a few tell-tale wrinkles, Miura broke his own record as the J-league's oldest goalscorer in June when he hit the winner against Mito at the age of 48 days, four months and two days.
Miura, whose lengthy career began with a move to Brazil at age 15, made his name in the early 1990s when he was Asia's best-known footballer and he remains Japan's second-highest goalscorer with 55 goals in 89 matches.
He blazed a trail for Japanese players when he joined Italy's Genoa in 1994, although a broken nose on his debut took some of the gloss off his trumpeted arrival.
When the former Dinamo Zagreb player was axed from the Japan squad by then coach Takeshi Okada before the country's first World Cup appearance in 1998, it triggered a national debate.
Miura finally got his dream to play for Japan in a World Cup at 45, albeit in the futsal version in Thailand.