June 10, 2024
Kazuyoshi Miura: 53-year-old signs contract extension to play in his 36th professional season

Kazuyoshi Miura: 53-year-old signs contract extension to play in his 36th professional season

The now-53-year-old striker signed a contract extension with Yokohama FC on Monday, meaning he will play into his 36th season as a professional.

“I have renewed my contract with Yokohama FC for the 2021 season,” Miura said in a statement.

“Last season, the world was in a difficult situation because of the coronavirus pandemic, but thanks to many people, we are able to feel the joy of playing soccer. I felt that the last season wasn’t my best, but my own ambitions and passion for soccer have kept growing.

Miura smiles while on the pitch for Yokohama FC against Vissel Kobe

“I will play more games this season and would like to work hard every day toward contributing to my team’s victory.”

He will turn 54 a day before the 2021 J-League campaign kicks off at the end of February.

Miura made his professional debut back in 1986 as a 19-year-old when he appeared for Brazilian side Santos — before football superstar Lionel Messi was even born.

After his time in Brazil elevated him into one of Japan’s most famous sports stars, “King Kazu” returned to his homeland where he led Verdy Kawasaki to back-to-back titles in 1993 and 1994.

He spent a loan spell with Serie A side Genoa in 1994, becoming the first Japanese player to play in the Italian first division.

As well as stints in Croatia and Australia, Miura had a prolific international career with Japan. He won the Asian Cup in 1992, finishing with 55 goals in 89 games when he retired from international football in 2000 — the second-most career goals in Japanese national team history.

He signed for Yokohama FC in 2005, meaning this upcoming season will be his 17th at the club.

Miura makes a run against Yokohama F Marinos.

In 2017, he became the oldest player to score in a professional match when he scored against Thespakusatsu Gunma in Japan’s second division at 50 years and 14 days. He also helped Yokohama secure promotion to Japan’s top division at the end of the 2019 season.

“Return of the King,” the J-League said in its announcement on Twitter.

He only played four league games — and two club games — last season for Yokohama.

Bayern Munich and Germany forward Thomas Muller praised Miura’s longevity on Twitter.

“This is legendary… Unbelievable – 36 seasons!!!!” the 2014 World Cup winner said.