The 50-year-old who broke Sir Stanley Matthews’ 52-year-old record
Japan’s first football superstar Kazuyoshi Miura became the oldest professional goal-scorer at the grand old age of 50 on Sunday after netting in a 1-0 win for Yokohama FC against Thespa Kusatsu in J-League 2.
“I’m glad to contribute to a win. I’m always looking to score but had a good feeling about today’s game,” Miura exulted after the game.
Miura, nicknamed Kazu, demonstrated the enthusiasm of a fresh-faced academy graduate on Sunday, when he was first on hand to react and control the ball from a save by the goalkeeper before firing home from a difficult angle.
His sharp and clinical strike came just two weeks after his 50th birthday and made him the oldest professional to net in a competitive match at 50 years and 14 days. Kazu’s goal saw him go past former England international Sir Stanley Matthews, whose record of 50 years and five days set in 1965 had stood 52 years.
The former Japanese international is now playing his 32nd season at the professional level having made his debut for Brazilian outfit Santos in 1986. He has since gone on to represent teams like Tokyo Verdy and Vissel Kobe in his homeland, while also enjoying stints with Dinamo Zagreb, Genoa and Sydney FC. Kazu has been a part of Yokohama FC since 2005 after reigniting his career in Japan towards the late 1990s following an unsuccessful trial with Bournemouth.
His international career saw him find the back of the net 55 times in 89 appearances for the Samurai Blue. He is also regarded as the greatest player never to appear in a World Cup match for his nation.
But then again, looking at his love, thirst and desire to be on the pitch competing with those half his age as he gracefully ages like old wine just sheds light on the fact that here stands a man who isn’t perturbed by World Cup caps or any record for that matter.
With his child-like exuberance, Kazu just wants to keep playing and the game like life has rewarded him in its own way for his hard work, dedication, discipline and passion, hasn’t it?