Japan Striker ‘King Kazu’ Miura Plays on at 57

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kazuyoshi Miura speaks at a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The 57-year-old former international Kazuyoshi Miura said Tuesday his passion for playing burns brighter than ever after returning to Japanese club football.

The striker known as “King Kazu” has signed for Atletico Suzuka Club in Japan’s fourth tier, on loan from Yokohama FC in the second division.

He returns to Japan after two seasons with Portuguese second-division outfit Oliveirense, where he made nine appearances, also on loan from Yokohama.

“I don’t see quitting as a choice that I would consider,” Miura, who did not score for Oliveirense and made only fleeting appearances off the bench, told a press conference.

“My passion for the game is always high. My passion doesn’t wither away.”

Miura made his debut in 1986 with Brazilian side Santos and has also played in Italy, Croatia and Australia.

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.

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