Kazuyoshi Miura.
  • Japanese soccer star Kazuyoshi Miura has signed a new contract to keep him at Yokohama FC for another year.
  • That may sound unremarkable, but Miura is currently 53 years old.
  • He started playing professionally in 1986, before Lionel Messi was born, and has made almost 750 appearances in his career.
  • So long is Miura's career that he retired from international football over two decades ago.
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At 43 years and 129 days old, Tom Brady became the oldest quarterback to throw an NFL postseason pass on Sunday.

Brady may well be considered very old for an elite sportsman, but he's got nothing on Japanese soccer star Kazuyoshi Miura.

Aged 53 years and 318 days, Miura has just signed a new contract with his side Yokohama FC that will see him play on until he is almost 55.

Miura, who made his professional debut for Brazilian side Santos in 1986, will start his 17th season with Yokohama, . He will be 54 during his 36th season overall, celebrating his birthday on February 26, the day before Japan's elite league, the J.League, kicks off.

"Last season, I was feeling the joy of playing football at a time when the world was facing a tough situation because of the new coronavirus," he said in a statement, as cited by Reuters.

Miura, who helped Yokohama to promotion from J.League 2 to the J.League in the 2019 season, has played 649 club games in his professional career and a further 89 for the Japanese national side. He retired from the international game in 2000, more than two decades ago.

He is considered something of an icon in Japan and was one of the first Japanese players to gain international recognition, helping start a boom in the sport in the country, which culminated in it co-hosting the 2002 World Cup with South Korea.

In recent seasons his play has been limited, taking part in just four games last season.

To put Miura's astounding longevity in context, he started his career when Cristiano Ronaldo was just one year old, Lionel Messi was yet to be born, and Diego Maradona was in his prime, hoisting the 1986 World Cup with Argentina.

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