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26th Jun 2024

World’s oldest professional footballer joins new club aged 57


It’s the 16th club in his incredible 37-year playing career.

The oldest professional footballer in the world has signed for a new club at the age of 57.

Kazuyoshi Miura, who is a former Japan international, has returned to his home country after a stint in Portugal to play for fourth-tier side Atletico Suzuka Club on a loan deal.

Nicknamed ‘King Kazu’, his career began in 1986 when he made his debut for Brazilian side Santos FC.

From there, he has played for Palmerias and Coritiba in Brazil, Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia, Japanese sides Yokohama FC and Vissel Kobe, and most recently, Portuguese second-tier club Oliveirense as of last year.

Miura scored 55 goals in 89 international appearances for Japan, making him the country’s second-highest all-time scorer.

He has made 711 club appearances across 16 teams in eight different leagues, and has 193 goals in his club career.

LISBON, PORTUGAL – DECEMBER 10: Football Legend Kazu Miura of UD Oliveirense during the Liga Portugal 2 match between CF Os Belenenses and UD Oliveirense at Estadio do Restelo on December 10, 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

In his press conference after signing for Atletico Suzuka Club, Miura said: “I don’t see quitting as a choice that I would consider. My passion for the game is always high. My passion doesn’t wither away.

“My body is nothing like that of when I was 50,” he added. “It’s different from day to day. I’m always wondering how I’ll be the next day, or a week later. So even the slightest pain scares me—a fear that it’s going to lead to an injury.

“I guess the actual time to recover from an injury is no different from young players. But unlike when I was younger, I can’t bring it back at once. In my younger days, I would recover in a linear fashion. But now, if I get injured, I need to go through a process of some rehab, rest, rehab, then rest, seeing how it goes.

“So, for something that takes two weeks for a young athlete, I may take four weeks. Old age is steadily creeping up on you; you can’t disguise that. Still, I keep on going, because after all, I enjoy soccer.”

Miura featured in the original FIFA 96 video game.

He is seen by many as Japan’s first superstar footballer, and preceded the likes of Shunsuke Najamura (Celtic), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan) and Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund).

Some might be familiar with his distinctive celebration which is known as the ‘Kazu Feint’, and involves a little bit of fancy footwork before pointing his arm up to the sky.

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