The Yokohama FC of J2 League announced the contract with Kazuyoshi Miura for 2017 season in January 11 2017. Miura will be 50 years old on February 26 this year, on that day the J-league opener will be held. Miura is the oldest football player who is active in Japan, and he scored 2 goals in 20 matches at last season. He debuted in Brazil in 1986 so this year is the 32nd season for him.
Kazuyoshi Miura, nicknamed Kazu or King Kazu, he was born at Shizuoka Prefecture in 1967. Miura began playing football from 6 years old, and after graduating from junior high school he went to Brazil to become a football player. In 1986, he contracted with the Santos FC and his long professional football life began. He played for 4 years in Brazil and became the first Japanese player to play in the Campeonato Brasileiro.
Because the start of the professional football league “J-League” approached in Japan so he returned to Japan in 1990. He contracted with the Verdy Kawasaki (Now Tokyo Verdy 1969) and played as a forword. When the J League started in 1993, Miura played as a central player and scored 20 goals in 36 matches. So he contributed to the Verdy’s victory, he got MVP of J-League and Asian Footballer of the Year.
In 1994 season, Miura transferred to the Genoa CFC on a loan deal. He signed the contract of 1 year with the Genor and became the first asian player to play in the Serie A. But this was the transfer with a sponsor (Japanese company KENWOOD) , he played only 21 matches and scored 1 goal. After the contract ends, he played in the Verdy again and got a top scorer of J-League in 1996.
Miura transferred to the Croatia Zagreb (Now Dinamo Zagreb) on a permanent deal in 1998. But at that time, because of injury he was gradually getting weak for football player. So this transfer was also aimed at acquiring Japanese sponsorship. Finally Miura played only 13 matches and didn’t scored a goal, he played for one year in the Zagreb.
After that, Miura backed to the J-League again. He played in the Kyoto Sanga F.C and the Vissel Kobe until 6 years. And in 2005, Miura transferred to the Yokohama FC and he has been playing for 12 years. In the meantime, he scored 13 goals in 170 matches. Then, he transferred to the Sydney of A-League on a loan deal in 2005. He played in the FIFA Club World Championship TOYOTA Cup Japan 2005 and became the first asian player to play in the Club World Cup.
Kazuyoshi Miura was convened to the Japan national football team from 1990. Miura was an active in the national team, he scored 55 goals in 87 matches. But he was sick in the the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. So Japan first played in the World Cup but Miura was out of members before the tournament. After that Japan became a regular country of the world cup, Miura has never played. Playing in the World Cup is a motivation for him to keep on active service.
However, Why can 50-year-olds player contract with the professional football team? There are also sponsors here. When the owner company of the Yokohama FC acquired management rights, the team contracted with Miura at same year. After that the Yokohama FC gained in popularity as a team to which Miura belongs, and his personal sponsor became the team’s primary shirt sponsor in the past. So the Yokohama FC will not make him fired.
But in Japan, Miura is the Living legend now. This youtube’s video is the goal of Miura in 2016 season. At this time he was 49 years old and it was the record of the oldest goal in history of J-League. In this year we will see the goal of a 50 year old player.