Japan’s golden oldie ‘King Kazu’ joins new team at 54

Japanese football star Kazuyoshi Miura extended his decades-long playing career at the age of 54 on Tuesday with a move to a fourth-tier club managed by his older brother.

Miura, known as “King Kazu”, said he would “strive to help the team win on the pitch” after joining Suzuka Point Getters.

The move was announced at 11:11am on January 11 — with the former international forward set to wear the number 11 shirt next season.

Miura, who turns 55 in February, said last month that he had offers from several clubs in Japan and overseas, after turning out for Yokohama FC last season in the J-League’s top flight.

He managed just one minute of league action as his team finished bottom of the table.

He is hoping to make more of an impact for his new side, who are managed by brother Yasutoshi.

Miura has been at more than a dozen clubs spanning Brazil, Japan, Italy, Croatia and Australia.

“I’m thankful that I’ve been given the chance to play here,” he said in a statement released by his new club.

Miura said last month that he had been offered a new deal by Yokohama but wanted more playing time.

Miura has said he wants to keep playing until he turns 60.

One of Asia’s best-known footballers in the 1990s, he helped put the game in Japan on the map when the professional J-League was launched in 1993.

Miura left Japan for Brazil in 1982 and signed a contract with Santos FC in 1986 to make his professional debut.

He made his Japan debut in 1990 and was famously left out of his country’s squad for their first World Cup finals appearance in 1998, despite scoring 55 goals in 89 games for the national side.

Suzuka made headlines in 2019 when they became the first Japanese club to appoint a female manager in Spain’s Mila Martinez.

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