Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

The oldest active professional footballer in the world, the venerable Kazuyoshi Miura, extended his record this week when he came off the bench to help seal a victory for Japanese side Suzuka Point Getters.
Miura — affectionately known as “King Kazu” in Japan — was introduced as a late substitute in a 1-0 win for the aptly named Point Getters at the grand old age of 55 is years and 225 days, thus beating his own record.

His Highness entered the fray in the 76th minute in what proved to be a narrow victory over Criacao Shinjuku at the newly rebuilt National Stadium in Tokyo. The game was played in front of 16,218 fans, which also constitutes a new record for the Japanese Football League (fourth tier). “I’m grateful to have played in the best atmosphere possible, and feel proud,” Miura told reporters after the game.

Miura left Yokohama FC at the tender age of 54 to move to Suzuka on loan back in January.He immediately became the oldest player in the squad by 19 years at the Point Getters, who just so happen to be managed by the veteran strikers oIder brother, 5-year old Yasutoshi Miura.

Kazu had previously spent 16 years on the books at Yokohama FC, celebrating both his 40th and 50th birthday with the club, but left following their relegation to J2 League. Now, in his 37th campaign as a professional which has taken in playing stints at Genoa in Italy, Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia and Sydney FC in Australia, he remains as committed as ever.

“Having got the chance to play at a place like this, I’ll be staying humble and keep going without forgetting the hunger,” he said.
Of course, there are myriad examples of superannuated footballers who simply refused to quit playing the game they love and instead kept on plugging away into the 40s, 50s, 60s and — in some exceptionally rare cases — beyond.

With the rigours on their body comparatively lesser, goalkeepers tend to fare better when it comes to extended careers but there are several exceptional instances of outfield players carrying on well into their footballing dotage.

➔ 1982: He debuted professionally in Brazil.
➔ 1986: He returned to his country.
➔ 1990: Premiered with Japan’s senior team
➔ 1994: Became the first Japanese to play in Italy’s A Series.
➔ 2000: Removed from the selection.
➔ 2017: Became the oldest professional footballer (50 years old) to score a goal.
➔ 2020: Extended his contract with Yokohama FC until 2021, a team you’ve been playing with since 2006.
➔ 2021: At age 54, he was the oldest professional in football.
➔ 2023: 55-year-old Kazuyoshi
/ Miura signs for Portuguese second-division team Oliveirense on loan from Yokohama FC.


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