Japanese legend, Kazu Miura has become the oldest player to feature in a professional, FIFA-recognised match ever after breaking Sir Stanley Matthews record.
To achieve this feat, Kazu Miura aged 50 years and 7 days, recently turned out for Yokohama FC in his 32nd professional season in football, where he played 54 minutes of Yokohama FC’s J2 League 1-1 draw at V-Varen Nagasaki.
His appearance on Sunday means he has beaten the record held since 1965 by Sir Stanley Matthews, who was 50 years and 5 days when he played for Stoke against Fulham in his final competitive match.
When asked about his record breaking feat, Kazu Miura, also known as ‘King Kazu’ humbly said;
“I don’t actually feel like I’ve gone past a legend. I may have surpassed him in longevity but I won’t ever be able to match his statistics and the career he had.
“It’s not so much about numbers anyway, it’s more about how you play.”
After being serenaded by fans and presented with a cake and a bouquet on his birthday, the former Dinamo Zagreb forward said;
“I want to thank the fans, players and staff for giving me this victory as a birthday present. To be able to play for so many years I’ve been blessed with a lot of support.
“I really want to thank my teammates for their help. I’ll do my best to play on until I’m 60!”
The former Japan international has been playing football full-time since 1986, starting off his career at Santos before dotting around a host of South American and Japanese clubs, including Palmeiras.
He even turned out in Europe for a spell, playing for both Genoa – on loan in the 1994-95 season – as well as Dinamo Zagreb in 1999.
After stints at Kyoto Purple Sanga and Vissel Kobe in his native Japan, Miura moved to Yokohama in 2005 – aged 38 – where he has played ever since.
He was the first recipient of the Asian Player of the Year award in 1993 and made 89 appearances for his country – in which he netted 55 goals – before heading into international retirement in 2000.
And it clearly appears to have worked as he is now 17 years removed from giving up on the international game and still going strong with a new one-year contract signed in January at the Japanese second division club, taking his career into a 32nd season, and stretching his own record.
The former record holder, Sir Stanley Matthews was a former Blackpool and England winger, widely regarded as one of the all-time greats of the British game. He died at the age of 85 on February 23, 2000.
During a remarkable 33-year career he won 54 England caps – and played in another 30 wartime internationals. Before King Kazu’s weekend feat, Matthews was the first known knight of English football and only man to have played in the old First Division as a 50-year-old.
Matthews will forever be known for his role in Blackpool’s 4-3 FA Cup final triumph against Bolton Wanderers in 1953, which was later renamed the “Matthews Final”. He ended his career having played for Blackpool 379 times.