Twinkle-toed former Japan striker Kazuyoshi Miura plans to push on with his illustrious J-League career after signing a new deal with Yokohama FC — at the ripe old age of 48.
The league’s oldest player, known by his fans and local media as “King Kazu”, will stay with the second division club past his 49th birthday after proving he still has fairy dust in his boots by scoring three goals in 16 appearances this season.
Miura, who is currently sidelined with a leg injury, insisted he lost none of his mojo.
“I’ve still got the willpower,” he told local media on Thursday. “I can go until I’m 50. I can still score goals. I don’t want to simply be out there playing. It’s all about the results. I want to set myself a target of 10 goals next season.”
In a statement after extending his professional career into a 31st year, Miura thanked “club officials and supporters who have supported me throughout.”
Although the pin-up looks have been replaced by a few tell-tale wrinkles, Miura broke his own record as the J-league’s oldest goalscorer in June when he hit the winner against Mito at the age of 48 days, four months and two days.
Miura, whose lengthy career began with a move toBrazil at age 15, made his name in the early 1990s when he was Asia’s best-known footballer and he remains Japan‘s second-highest goalscorer with 55 goals in 89 matches.
He blazed a trail for Japanese players when he joinedItaly‘s Genoa in 1994, although a broken nose on his debut took some of the gloss off his trumpeted arrival.
When the former Dinamo Zagreb player was axed from the Japan squad by then coach Takeshi Okadabefore the country’s first World Cup appearance in 1998, it triggered a national debate.
Miura finally got his dream to play for Japan in a World Cup at 45 — albeit in the futsal version inThailand. – Agence France-Presse