Age is just a number for the Yokohama FC veteran and cult hero.

By 90Min
January 11, 2018

Japanese record breaker Kazuyoshi 'Kazu' Miura, the oldest active player in professional world football, has signed a new contract with club Yokohama FC that will see him extend his illustrious career beyond his upcoming 51st birthday.

Miura, who has been playing professionally since 1986 when he earned a contract with Brazilian club Santos, has become something of a global cult hero in recent years.

Not only is he the oldest active professional player anywhere in the world, but also the oldest ever goalscorer, having last year broken a long-standing record held by the late great English winger Sir Stanley Matthews that had stood since 1965.

After spending several years in Brazil in the late 1980s, Miura returned home to Japan in 1990 and was a star in his homeland at the advent of the new J-League era.

It is remarkable to think that Miura, who was named the J-League's first ever 'MVP' in 1993 while with Verdy Kawasaki, has overlapped careers with 1980s World Cup legends Gary Lineker and Zico, both of whom spent the twilight of their playing days in Japan.

He then later came up against a certain Arsene Wenger during the Frenchman's brief time in charge of Nagoya Grampus Eight prior to his 1996 appointment at Arsenal.

Miura was also a trailblazer for Japanese players in Europe, joining Genoa on loan for the 1994/95 season and establishing a platform for stars like Hidetoshi Nakata, Shinji Ono and Shunsuke Nakamura to flourish in Italy, Netherlands and Scotland respectively in later years.

A Japanese international from 1990 until 2000, Miura went to two Asian Cups and the 1995 Confederations Cup, although he cruelly and surprisingly left out of his country's squad for their first ever World Cup in 1998 after scoring 14 times during the qualifying campaign.

Miura has been with current club Yokohama FC since 2005, signing as a veteran 38-year-old.

But rather than let his career wind down, the living legend has experience new life. He has played over 250 games for the club over the last 13 years, much of that has been in the top flight, and can still be relied upon to score a handful of goals per season.

Yokohama are now in the Japanese second tier after relegation in 2014, but still Miura goes on.

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