The noun veteran is used for professionals who have achieved greatness in the career and have either crossed retirement or are nearing it. But Japan boasts of a veteran footballer who seems to be far from retirement. Kazuyoshi Miura, seems not to want to retire even at the age of 51. The footballer recently extended his contract with his club, second-tier J-League Yokohama FC, just weeks ahead of his 51st birthday.
He began playing football at the age of 19, when Ronald Reagan was President, Mike Tyson was a heavyweight champion, and Liverpool won the English league. He may be the oldest football player in the world still kicking the ball on the field, but he is lovingly called King Kazu by his fans.
Miura’s extension in 2018 means the star footballer will be playing the sport even longer. This marks his 33rd professional season. Last year Kazu played 12 games for Yokohama in the J2 league and even scoring a solitary goal.
Despite being the oldest player in the world, he is still humble enough to say he wants to get better at his trade, "I will always play with the football with all my might and hope to grow as a player,” said the player after the club’s announcement.
In his career spanning over 30 years, he has played for 13 different clubs across South America, Europe, Australia and Asia. His stats stand at 55 goals in 89 appearances for Japan, notching 14 in qualifying as he fired his country to the 1998 World Cup Finals in France. He was even part of the team that won AFC Asian Cup back in 1992. Having clocked 36,932 minutes on field, scoring 162 goals, his career red card is still awaited.