When asked what motivates him to continue playing football after the age of 50, Kazuyoshi Miura softly answers: "I have this passion of wanting to play, so that keeps me going"
A staff member at Yokohama FC — where Miura has played since 2005 — put it a little more bluntly: "He will play until he dies. He tells us that he wants to die on a football pitch."
Regardless of his inspiration, after 17 seasons and 298 appearances at Yokohama FC, the world's oldest professional footballer is on the move — a guarantee that the Japanese record-breaker will play another season.
Kazuyoshi "Kazu" Miura joined fourth-tier Japanese Suzuka Point Getters on a year-long loan Tuesday, the striker's first transfer since 2005.
Contract with Yokohama FC extendedBrother signs “King Kazu”: World’s oldest professional footballer joins Suzuka https://t.co/koNOuXx2cN
— Transfermarkt.co.uk (@TMuk_news) January 11, 2022
The 54-year-old made his debut in 1986 and has since played for 15 clubs in four countries, including Italy, Croatia, and Australia. Miura holds the records for oldest goal-scorer in the J-League (50), longest professional career (37 seasons and counting), as well as oldest professional footballer.
The Japanese striker also made his long-awaited return to the FIFA video games series in FIFA 21 after helping Yokohama earn promotion back to the top flight — his first appearance in the game since FIFA 96.
Kazu had no shortage of suitors after the J1 League season ended in December, as eight clubs looked to sign the striker — who turned down a new deal at Yokohama.
The 54-year-old played just 45 minutes across the J1 League and J1 League Cup in 2021, which prompted a search to find more consistent playing time. At Suzuka, he will hope to score his first goal since 2017.
This move is a special one for Kazu, as he will be playing for his brother Yasutoshi who manages Suzuka. Yasutoshi — who is two years older than Kazu — retired from professional in 2003 and has spent the years since in the lower levels of Japanese football.
The duo played together for the Japanese national team during a pair of World Cup Qualifiers back in 1993, with Kazuyoshi starting up top and Yasutoshi slotting in at left back.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to play here and will do my best to contribute to the club on the pitch," Kazu said as he extends the endless twilight of his career.