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Kazuyoshi Miura, 53, the world’s oldest professional footballer, has signed a new contract

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Japanese football’s oldest goal scorer and the world’s oldest professional footballer, Kazuyoshi Miura, has signed a new contract with his club that will keep him playing after his 54th birthday.

King Kazu, who is the longest goalscorer in Japanese professional football, has committed to his 17th season with the club and the 36th overall in his distinguished career, as he is affectionately called.

On February 26, the day before the J1 League campaign is set to get underway, Miura turns 54.

Last September, at the age of 53 years and 210 days, he became the oldest player in the history of the top-flight against Kawasaki Frontale. He managed to make three more appearances that season.

At the age of 50, Miura holds the world record for being the oldest footballer and oldest scorer in the world’s pro leagues and is the world’s oldest active professional footballer at 53 as of 2020.

He also has the perhaps unusual distinction of having played professional football in five different decades (1980s-2020s).

In a statement released by the club, despite making just seven league appearances in the past two years, Miura said his “hopes and passion for football are only increasing”

“Last season, at a time when the world faced a tough situation because of the new coronavirus, I felt the joy of playing football,” he said.

Miura’s last goal came in March 2017, when, at the age of 50 years and 14 days, he scored in a 1-0 victory over ThespaKusatsu Gunma in Japan’s second tier. In a professional league game in Japan, it made him the oldest player to score.

After beginning his career with Santos in 1986, Miura, who was the first Japanese recipient of the Asian Footballer of the Year award in 1992, became the face of the J-League after its launch in 1993.

In 89 international appearances for Japan, Miura has scored 55 goals and won the Asian Cup in 1992.

He played for Genoa, Zagreb Dinamo and FC Sydney.

He, along with Kunishige Kamamoto and Shinji Okazaki, is one of only three men to score more than 50 goals for Japan.

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About Kirigaya Kazuto

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Kazuto Kirigaya, born as Kazuto Narusaka, is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Sword Art Online series of light novels written by Reki Kawahara.

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