Footballing careers on the pitch can be a short profession with the average age of retirement being 34 before moving into different roles and careers.
This is not the case for Japanese professional footballer Kazuyoshi Miura. The striker was born in February 1967 (8 days after legendary Italian striker Roberto Baggio) and in 2020/2021 is still contracted and playing in the J1 League for Yokohama FC.
Muira holds the records for being the oldest footballer and goalscorer in worldwide professional leagues, and looks likely to continue to do so for more years to come.
Retiring from International football with Japan in 2000 having scored 55 goals in 89 caps, Muira has since played for Kyoto Purple Sanga, Vissel Kobe, Yokohama FC and had a loan spell with Australian team Sydney FC.
In September 2020 he started against Kawasaki Frontale playing 57 minutes and in doing so became the oldest player to take to the pitch at the highest national division worldwide.
Having joined Yokohama FC in 2005 at 38 years old, he has since made over 250 league appearances in his +15 year career with them.
Miura’s career has had some fantastic highlights along the way from starting his professional career with Santos in Brazil in 1986 to winning top scorer and MVP in the Japanese J League in 1993. Worth noting that season he saw off competition for both titles from Gary Lineker (33 at the time) and Zico (40 at the time).
Playing professionally for teams in Brazil, Italy, Croatia, Australia and Japan, Miura’s experience and knowledge make him a key figure for younger players coming through the system. Some of which may have even experienced his virtual self, considering he made his first video game appearance in Fifa 96.
Kazuyoshi Miura is an inspiration to football fans worldwide and to share his story as one of the heroes in modern football shows the power of the sport and journeys both professionally and personally that can be achieved.