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Football: Kazuyoshi Miura signs new Yokohama contract at age of 51

Football: Kazuyoshi Miura signs new Yokohama contract at age of 51

Miura is admiringly nicknamed "King Kazu" for his spirited grit and style. (Photo: AFP/TORU YAMANAKA)

YOKOHAMA: Kazuyoshi Miura, who was playing in the J-League when Gary Lineker and Zico were in Japan, has signed a new one-year contract with Yokohama FC at the age of 51.

Former Japan international forward Miura will play for the second-tier club throughout the 2019 season, the J-League announced.

"I updated the contract for the 2019 season," Miura said after signing the deal. "Thanks to everyone who always supports me."

In 1993 he played for Tokyo Verdy in the inaugural J-League season, helping them win the title and being named the league's Most Valuable Player.

His professional career will have lasted for 34 years by the time the season ends, but he is not an automatic starter at Yokohama and made nine league appearances last season, all as a substitute.

Miura is the oldest professional player to have scored a goal, a strike in 2017 breaking the long-standing record held by England's Stanley Matthews.

The 1993 Asian Player of the Year's 14 goals in qualification helped Japan qualify for their first-ever World Cup in 1998, but he was controversially left out of the tournament squad by coach Takeshi Okada.

It is unclear when he may choose to stop playing, and when he joined Yokohama in 2005 he said: "I know that I'm not young any more and I am finding the game a lot tougher physically, but I still get a lot of pleasure when my team wins or I play well.

"As long as I'm enjoying my football, I'll keep going."

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