‘King Kazu,’ world’s oldest player, joins new club aged 57

Japanese striker Kazuyoshi Miura, who is widely recognised as world football’s oldest active professional, has returned to Japan to join fourth-tier side Atletico Suzuka Club on loan.

Miura, known as “King Kazu,” will now play in his 39th year of professional football. Last season he played for Portuguese side Oliveirense on loan from Yokohama FC. He has previously played for a string of clubs around the world, including including Palmeiras, Genoa, Dinamo Zagreb and Vissel Kobe.

“In this situation I am in now, quitting is not an option for me,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “I thought about where and how I could express my passion, and I decided that Atletico Suzuka would be the best place for me to do so.”

He added: “The most important thing I considered when deciding on this move was how much playing time I could get. I know that it is not guaranteed, and I don’t know how much I will be able to play in the games with this team.

“But when I thought about the possibilities, Suzuka was the most the best options to be able to do so. I think that was the biggest deciding factor… I am 57 years old now. I am quite old. Compared to other players, I am clearly older. I am often told to play like a veteran player, but regardless of my age, I want to play in a way that is not like a veteran player.”

The former Japan national team forward scored 55 goals in 89 games for Japan. He won the Asian Cup in 1992 and is Japan’s second-highest all-time scorer.

Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.