The World's Oldest Pro Will Make His First FIFA Video Game Appearance In 25 Years

Kazuyoshi "Kazu" Miura is already famous for being the world's oldest-ever professional footballer and the oldest goal scorer.

25 years later, Kazu will finally be a useable player in FIFA again. He last appeared in FIFA 96 as a 28-year-old member of the Japanese national team. Now, age 53, Kazu will be in FIFA 21 as a 59-overall striker for J1 League side Yokohama FC

After toiling in the J2 League for 12 seasons with Yokohama FC, the striker led his side to promotion back to the Japanese top flight for the 2020 J1 League season.

Miura started his professional career way back in 1986, making two appearances for Brazilian club Santos as a 19-year-old. After four years with various clubs in Brazil, Kazu was lured back to Japan by the inception of the Japan Soccer League, the first pro league in his home country.

Kazu spent the next three decades toiling in his home country, making occasional loan spells at Genoa (where he became the first Japanese footballer in Italy in 1994), Dinano Zagreb and Sydney FC. In total, he has made nearly 650 professional appearances with almost 200 of them coming after the age of 40.

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While Kazu has played professionally for the last 30-plus years, various obstacles have prevented him from being playable in FIFA.

The Japanese national team has an exclusive partnership with Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) as the creator of PES, Konami, is based in Japan. This means that Japan is not a playable team in FIFA. The first globally released PES game came out in 1996, which meant that FIFA 96 (released in 1995) was the last FIFA game to have the Japanese national team.

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His loan stints at Dinano Zagreb and Sydney FC came after 1996, but both sides were not yet playable in the game. Meanwhile, the J-League was not added to the game until FIFA 17 and the J2 second division is still not available in FIFA. This meant that Kazu needed to help his club earn promotion to obtain a spot in the game.

After this promotion, Kazu is the only player from FIFA 96 still playing professionally. Jamie Cureton was on the Norwich City roster in FIFA 96, and he still plays in England, but the 45-year-old is currently a player-manager for Enfield in the Essex Senior League (ninth division), an amateur league.

Juventus great Gianluigi Buffon was active in 1995 but made his senior debut for Parma just days before the game was released, which prevented him from being in the game, thus making Miura the only play from FIFA 96 to be in FIFA 21.

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On September 23, Kazu made his first top flight appearance in 13 years, captaining his side and playing 56 minutes in a 3-2 defeat to Kawasaki Frontale. The striker is hoping to nick his first goal since 2017, and despite his advanced age, Kazu still strives to keep playing.

"It takes me longer than the younger players to recover,” Miura says. “But even though it’s very hard, I have this passion of wanting to play, so that keeps me going."

"I still enjoy playing football – every moment."

Hopefully we can enjoy watching (and playing with) Kazuyoshi Miura in the J1 League for years to come.

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