Japan football legend 'Kazu' renews contract before 51st birthday

Japan football legend 'Kazu' renews contract before 51st birthday

The golden oldie, admiringly nicknamed "King Kazu" for his spirited grit and style, will kick off his 33rd career season this year after a stunning 2017 in which he surpassed the previous professional longevity record set by England legend Stanley Matthews.

Miura also became the oldest player to score a competitive goal in a professional match a year ago, another record held previously by Matthews.

Former Genoa striker Kazuyoshi Miura has signed a new contract with Yokohama FC, extending his professional career past his 51st birthday.

That one goal broke his own record as the J-League's oldest scorer.

Having retired from global duty with 55 goals in 89 caps, Miura joined Yokohama FC in 2005, at the age of 38.

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"I've signed a contract extension for this season".

"I will always play my heart out and hope to continue to grow", Miura told Kyodo after his renewal. His decision to travel to Brazil at the age of 15- in 1982 - was rewarded with a first pro contract with Brazilian giants Santos, where Pele spent the vast majority of his career.

Miura was top scorer and MVP of the inaugural Japanese J.League season in 1993, seeing off star imports such as Gary Lineker and Zico to both accolades.

He made his Japan debut in 1990 and fired the country to their first ever World Cup appearance in 1998 by scoring 14 goals in qualifying.

He also had brief spells with Italian side Genoa and Dinamo Zagreb of Croatia in the 1990s.