Kazuyoshi Miura has signed a one-year extension to his deal at Yokohama FC, prolonging one of the lengthiest careers in professional football.
The Japanese centre-forward, 50, began his playing days all the way back in 1986 – a year when Lionel Ritchie was No 1 in the charts and Gary Lineker picked up the Golden Boot.
In 32 years of professional football Miura has represented 14 clubs in five countries – including short spells at Genoa in Italy and Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia.
‘King Kazu’, as he is affectionately known, earned 89 caps for Japan – scoring 55 goals along the way – and was the first player from his country to be named Asian Player of the Year.
He began his career as a teenager at Brazilian club Santos before moving back to Japan in 1990. Three years later he was named Most Valuable Player in the J-League’s inaugural season, pipping the likes of Lineker – then of Grampus Eight – and Brazilian playmaker Zico to the accolade.
No sign of stopping
Miura has served Japanese second-tier club Yokohama FC since 2005 and made headlines last year after beating Sir Stanley Matthews’ record as football’s oldest pro.
But if there was any growing suspicion that Miura was planning to hang up his boots, he soon put that idea to bed.
At the signing of his new contract, the soon-to-be 51-year-old told Kyodo news agency: “I will always play my heart out and hope to continue to grow [as a player].”