The 53-year-old Japanese icon Kazuyoshi Miura extends his contract to make it into his 36th season as a Football professional.
The Japanese International made his professional debut back in the year 1986 as a bright 19-year-old boy from Japan with immense potential, playing for Brazilian side Santos. After his spell in Brazil, he flew back to his hometown where people had developed huge respect for him over a short span of time. After his return, he led his club Verdy Kawasaki to back-to-back Japanese Soccer League titles in 1991 & 1992 and J league titles in 1993 & 1994. In the year 1993, Miura also became the first Japanese player to be awarded Asian Player of the Year and also the walked away with the best J League Player award. In a purple patch for the player and his side, the rising star also lifted the Asian Cup with his national side in 1992.
Miura became the first Japanese international to play in Serie A (for Genoa on loan) and also made a name for himself in Croatia and Austria. He bagged 55 goals in 89 games (which is the second-most by any Japanese international) before he decided to hang his boots from International Football in the year 2000.
In 2005 however, Miura moved to Yokohoma FC and has been there ever since. When questions were asked about his retirement, he responded to everyone by signing further contracts and extensions with Yokohoma FC.
In 2007, Miura was officially declared as the oldest player ever to play professional football and a decade on, in the year 2017, he broke the record of becoming the oldest player to score in a professional match against second division Japanese side Thepakustasu Gunma at the age of 50 years. That wasn’t all either, in 2019 Yokohoma FC secured their place in the First Division of Japan and Miura had a crucial role in making that dream a reality.
There were times where he had to play with teammates who were half his age but went about it unfazed, often outdoing them on the pitch; and as cliched as it sounds, Kazuyoshi Miura continues to defy the odds and proves to the world that “age is just a number” and is a true inspiration to every aspiring footballer looking to go the extra mile and a delight to every football fan out there.
[Image Credit: FIFA]