Sandrine Russo, who has recently been worried about Kylian Mbappe’s retirement, has nothing to worry about for Kazuyoshi Miura, who has just moved to Portuguese D2, at the age of 55 and who intends to play until at least 60.
At almost 56 years old, Japanese Kazuyoshi Miura was loaned out by Yokohama Football Club to UD Oliverence, in the Portuguese second division. 41 years after starting his career, in 1982, he would discover 17y A club from his career that has seen him travel to four different continents. The story of an extraordinary journey.
Kazuyoshi Miura was born on February 26, 1967 in Shizuoka, Japan, and took his first steps with the ball at the age of six at Junai Soccer Club, where he trained with his uncle.
Kazuyoshi Miura played with Dunga
Promising a great future in football, the young striker made the decision to leave his native country at the age of only 15, and go to the other side of the world to join the country of football: Brazil.
After four years of difficult adaptation to his new life, within Club Atletico Juventus, he was discovered by the prestigious club Santos, which he joined in 1986, allowing him to beat the big names in Brazilian football, such as Dunga, Sampaio or Socrates.
He was then 19 years old, and his career finally took off. Malgré des compliqués qui l’empêchent de se estabiliser dans la durée au sein d’un meme club, les performances de plus en plus convaincantes de Miura at Brésil the font passer du statut de jeune espoir japonais à celui de star in puissance dans son homeland.
He was named the Asian Footballer of the Year in 1993
The head of Japanese football was still very underdeveloped at the time and then in 1990 he decided to leave the country that started his career to join the country of his birth, by signing with Verdy Kawasaki.
His time with FC Tokyo, which he did not leave permanently until 1998, was the pinnacle of his football career. In 239 matches under Verdi’s colors, he scored 133 goals, won two titles in the J. League (Japanese first division) in 1993 and 1994, and was named Asian Player of the Year and Footballer of the Year in 1993.
Buoyed by his trophies and extraordinary performances, he did not go unnoticed in Europe, and especially in Italy, where he joined Genoa on a season-long loan in 1994, but was eventually unable to establish himself there. When he returned to Japan in 1995, he was no longer the flashy player of his early years in a Ferdy Kawasaki jersey, never again.
In 2017, at the age of 50, he became the oldest scorer in the Japanese Championship
In 1998, he tried his luck for the second time in the Old Continent, inside Croatia, Zagreb, but failed again. After only 12 matches played under the colors of the Croatian club, he thus decided to return to Japan where he participated in many experiences within different clubs between 1999 and 2005. Then, at the age of 38, he had the opportunity to discover a new continent by joining the Australian club Sydney FC. on loan.
On loan from Yokohama FC, he stayed there for just three months before returning to the Japanese club in 2006. At 39, he is at an age where 90% of professional players have already finished their careers.
But Kazuyoshi Miura, who is so in love with his sport, is not yet ready to hang his load and embarks on a dizzying pursuit of longevity records.
In 2014, he reappeared eight years after his last (!) match in the J. League 2 (Japanese D2) match between his club, Yokohama FC, and Kamatamare Sanuki, thus becoming the oldest player in history to develop into the Japanese second division. .
In March 2017, he broke the record for the oldest scorer in the Japanese Championship at the age of 50, just one week after breaking the absolute record for longevity in football, which had been held by Britain’s Stanley Matthews, since 1965.
Kazuyoshi Miura plans to play until he turns 60
Since January 2022, he has been on loan to Suzuka PG for whom he played 18 matches and scored two goals, before joining UD Oliveirense in the Portuguese D2 in January 2023.
A true Japanese star of the 1990s, a period during which he also played all of his international matches (89 matches between 1990 and 2000, 55 goals), Kazuyoshi Miura was the first superstar of Japanese football, and the first great player in a sport now thriving in manga country.
Nicknamed “King Kazuo” in his country of origin, the person who recently said he wants to play until the age of 60 is not yet ready to say goodbye to the football world. “I will do my best to be myself and show everyone how to play,” he says of his arrival at his new Portuguese club, apparently still as envious as he was during his debut in Brazil, 41 years ago.
Adrian Newrozi Banfi