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Japanese striker signs new deal at 50

STRIKER KAZUYOSHI Miura, who turns 51 next month, has signed a new contract with Japanese second division club Yokohama FC.

The deal means he will enter the 33rd season of his record-breaking career, which began at the Brazilian side Santos in 1986.

“I will always play my heart out and hope to continue to grow (as a player),” he told Kyodo news agency.

The former Genoa and Dinamo Zagreb player has been at Yokohama since 2005.

Capped 89 times for his country, Miura has had his 139 goals place him sixth in the all-time list of top scorers in the J-League’s top division.

Aged just 15, Miura left Japan for Brazil to pursue his football dream in 1982. He was eventually signed by Santos, for whom he made his professional debut in 1986 aged just 19.

Miura left Santos for Palmeiras later that same year. One of his team-mates at Palmeiras was Mirandinha, who in 1987 became the first Brazilian to play in English football after joining Newcastle United for £575,000.

Miura was top scorer and Most Valuable Player of the inaugural Japanese J.League season in 1993, seeing off star imports such as Gary Lineker and Zico to both accolades.

His J.League exploits saw him become the first Japanese recipient of the ‘Asian Player of the Year’ award in 1993.

He made his Japan debut in 1990 and fired the country to their first ever World Cup appearance in 1998 by scoring 14 goals in qualifying stages.

However, he was controversially omitted from the final squad for France and retired from international football two years later, having scored 55 goals in 89 appearances.

He has played in Europe for Genoa and Dinamo Zagreb, winning the Croatian league title with the latter in 1999.

Miura joined current club Yokohama FC as a 38-year-old in 2005 and has since made over 200 league appearances for the club. Bbcsports

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