The story of Kazuyoshi Miura

At the age of 52, Japanese footballer Kazuyoshi Miura holds the record as the oldest professional footballer and the oldest goalscorer in the world, and it looks like he is set to continue his incredible career as his current club Yokohama FC are set to extend his contract. Many of you are likely to be aware of Miura, but not familiar with the journey he has had, so join us and look at what has been an interesting career so far.

Leaving Japan

In 1982 at the age of 15, Miura left Shizuoka Gakuen High School and travelled alone to Brazil with the goal of becoming a professional footballer there, a goal which became a possibility when he signed a contract with youth club Clube Atletico Juventus in Sao Paulo.

Life in Brazil

In 1986, Miura achieved his goal when he signed his first professional contract with Santos and between 1986 and 1990, he played for multiple Brazilian clubs, including: Palmeiras, Matsubara, Clube de Regatas Brasil, XV de Jau and Cortiba as well as a second spell at Santos.

Return to Japan

In 1990 after 8 years in Brazil, Miura returned to Japan and joined Tokyo club Verdy Kawasaki. Miura spent 8 years at the club, making 192 appearances and scoring 100 goals. The majority of Miura’s trophies came during his time at Verdy Kawasaki, as he won: 2 Japan Soccer Leagues, 2 J1 League titles, 1 Japan Soccer League Cup, 3 J League Cups, 1 Emperor’s Cup and 2 Xerox Super Cups.

European football

Between 1994 and 1995, Miura tried his hand in Europe as he spent a season on loan at Serie A club Genoa, where he made 23 appearances for the club. After spending 8 seasons at Verdy Kawasaki, Miuira returned to Europe, this time he went to Croatia and joined Dinamo Zagreb, during his time in Croatia, Miura didn’t show the form he displayed elsewhere as he only made 12 appearances and didn’t score a single goal for Dinamo Zagreb, but despite that Dinamo Zagreb won the Croatian League that season.

A second spell in Japan

After his season with Dinamo Zagreb, Miura decided to return to Japan and joined Kyoto Purple Sanga. Miura spent 2 years at the club, making 51 appearances and scoring 24 goals. After 2 years with the club, Miura joined Vissel Kobe where he spent 5 years, scoring 29 goals in 127 appearances. In 2005, Miura was once again on the move as he joined Yokohama FC, scoring 4 goals in 17 appearances.

Australia

In 2005, Miura decided to try his arm in a 5th country when he joined Australian side Sydney FC on loan. His time in Sydney was one to forget however as he only made 6 appearances for the A-League side.

Back to Japan

After his uneventful loan spell at Sydney FC, Miura returned to Yokohama FC, where he would remain until this very day. Between 2006 and 2019, Miura made 266 appearances for Yokohama FC. On the 5th of March 2017 in a 1-1 draw with V-Varen Nagasaki, at the age of 50 years and seven days, Miura became the oldest player to feature in a professional match, beating Stanley Matthews’ record by 2 days. A week later, Miura became the oldest goalscorer when he scored in a 1-0 win over Thespakusatsu Gunma.

National team

In September of 1990, Miura was named in the Japan squad for the 1990 Asian Games, making his debut on the 26th of September against Bangladesh, with Miura also featuring for Japan during the 1992 Asian Cup, which Japan went on to win.

In 1997, Miura scored 14 goals for Japan in World Cup qualifiers to take them to their first-ever World Cup finals when they qualified for the 1998 World Cup in France. Unfortunately for Japan, they were unable to go any further than the group stage, as they lost all 3 of their games against: Argentina, Croatia and Jamaica.

In 2000, after making 89 appearances, Muira made his final appearance for the Japanese national team, ending his international career with the second-most career goals in Japanese national team history with 55 goals.


Futsal

In 2012, at the age of 45, Muira made his debut for the Japan Futsal team during a 3-3 draw with Brazil, scoring his first goal in a 3-1 win over Ukraine. During the 2012 Futsal World Cup in Thailand, Muira featured in all 4 of Japan’s games, but failed to score as Japan were knocked out in the round of 16 by Ukraine.


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