Kazuyoshi Miura: I don't think leaving football will ever be an option
The veteran Japanese player, who recently signed another contract renewal with Yokohama FC, talked to the AFC website on his 54th birthday.
The oldest active football player in a professional league, Kazuyoshi Miura, recently signed a contract extension with J1 League side Yokohama FC at the age of 54. King Kazu, as he is known, has played alongside many greats of the game during his long career including Ruy Ramos, Hidetoshi Nakata, Dwight Yorke, Tomas Skuhravy, Patrick M'Boma, and Park Ji-sung.
Kazu opened his heart for the AFC official website to speak about various topics including playing during the pandemic and his future aspirations. When asked about his latest contract renewal and whether it took him some time to decide, he responded: "When I got the offer from Yokohama FC, I knew that I wanted to play, so it didn't take a long time to make my decision. However, as I am going to train with young players, I made the decision after consulting with my mind and body, not with half-heartedness".
Kazu, who signed his first professional contract aged 18 with Santos in Brazil, stated that he had never imagined he would last on the pitch this long, saying that the reason for his longevity may be that he "puts all his energy into football every single year."
Kazu: "I was worried about what would happen to Japan"
As for playing during the pandemic, Miura said: "When the new coronavirus infections started to spread and a state of emergency was declared in Japan, I was worried about what would happen to Japan in the future".
"I wondered what it would mean for my daily life and my job as a footballer. However, thanks to the efforts of many people, J League was resumed, It was a different stadium view with infection control and match operation, but it didn't affect us on the pitch in any particular way and we were very happy to be able to play the game as usual." He added.
Kazu also spoke about his aspirations for the near future and the season ahead: "I want to play as many games as possible in the starting line-up. I want to give my all to help the team reach its goal of finishing in the top 10".