At the beginning of 2022, The Japan Times published an article about the extension of the contract with the most experienced football player in the world of football. The Japanese football club Yokohama administration decided to offer Kazuyoshi to continue playing in the team for another year. The footballer agreed. By the way, this is the third one-year contract with Yokohama.
However, the striker will spend this season on loan at the Suzuki PG club. In the interview, Milagros Martinez Dominguez, the team’s head coach, stressed that the new squad eagerly awaits Kazuyoshi. Moreover, working with him will be an excellent experience for both the team players and the coaching staff.
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54 year old striker: an advantage or a burden?
The news about the continuation of Kazuyoshi’s career as a football player was met ambiguously in the world of professional football. The club fans express their delight in the reviews and comments because Kazuyoshi is still one of Japan’s most famous football players. His game at the peak of his career has not yet been forgotten, and achievements in the world of football are set as an example for young athletes.
Sports journalists and analysts have different opinions. They say that it is vital to be able to leave a football career when the time comes and that coaching is the best that a football player can count on at the age of 54. Unfortunately, 54 years is a very considerable age for a football player, and no playing experience will help to be on par with younger rivals.
Many wonder what the club’s interest in collaborating with “King Kazu” is. It is evident that he is not in the best physical shape, and in the past three years, has not brought any notable benefits to his team. It is unlikely that the offer to extend the contract was made because of the club’s administration recognition and respect of Kazuyoshi. The name Kazuyoshi Miura is still known far beyond his country’s borders, and advertising brings the club a good additional income. Most likely, the club is counting on the coverage of this event in major European and American publications.
The athlete feels very well for his age of 54. According to the team doctor, the player’s health condition does not cause any concerns. Nothing other than a common cold has ever happened to Kazuyoshi. He scrupulously keeps an active lifestyle and has never missed a workout without a good reason.
How it all started
For the Miura brothers, football can be a family business. At the age of 15, Kazuyoshi decided to follow in his older brother’s footsteps and also become a professional athlete. Not having studied in high school even for a year, an ambitious young man left for Brazil to chase his dream. He was fortunate: in the middle of 1986, he was accepted into the youth team of the Juventus club, Sao Paulo as a striker. Having shown a good level of preparation, he made his debut in big-time football with the Santos club, Sao Paulo. During his time in Brazil, he won the championship of two leagues: Alagoas (1987) and, two years later, Paranaense (1989).
Upon his return in 1990, he readily signed a contract with the club of the highest football league of Japan – Yomiuri, Tokyo, thanks to a good playing experience. In 1993, the club renamed itself and became Verdy Kawasaki. He won in the Japanese JSL league for four years in a row as part of this team, becoming a two-time winner of the Soccer League Cup (1991 and 1992) and the J-League Cup (1993 and 1994) and even an Emperor’s Cup (1996).
In 1992 he won the Asian Cup, and in 1993 received the title of the most valued player in the JSL League. In 1993, Kazuyoshi was awarded Asia’s “Footballer of the Year” award at the end of the season. He became the first Japanese football player to receive such a title in history.
The Japanese striker spent the 1994/1995 season with the Italian club Genoa, having signed a contract for a period of 1 year. During the season, Katsuyoshi played 21 matches and scored one goal in a game with the Sampdoria team.
Since the season was not very successful, the player had to return to the Verdy Kawasaki club to his homeland. Three seasons in the Japanese team passed without any exceptional achievements for the football player. In 1999, he signed a new contract with the Croatian club and became the champion of Croatia. This title was the last significant title in Miur’s football career.
Since 2000, he played for Japanese clubs Vissel Kobe and Kyoto Sanga, and in 2005 he secured a long-term contract with Yokohama. During the whole period of performing for the club, the striker played 288 games and scored 27 goals.
For ten years, he looked after the interests of the Japanese national football team. In total, Miura played 89 matches in the national team, scoring 55 goals. He secured second place in the ranking of the most famous strikers in the national team’s history, thanks to his high-level performance.
At the age of 45, the football veteran played for the Japanese futsal team. In the match with Brazil, he managed to make a successful pass, and in the game with Ukrainian athletes, he personally scored the last, third goal against the opponent.
Kazuyoshi Miura spent 35 seasons playing on the field during his professional career, which is also a kind of record.