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All hail the King! Praise for Japan footballer Kazu, 53, after new record

Japan’s 53-year-old footballing golden oldie Kazuyoshi Miura, better known as King Kazu, won plaudits Thursday for his latest record-setting appearance, but said he was disappointed he didn’t score.

Miura made history on Wednesday night in Yokohama FC’s game against Kawasaki Frontale, when he became the oldest J-League first division starter in history.

“King Kazu once again wrote a new chapter in the history of Japanese football,” the Nikkan Sports daily triumphantly declared.

Sports Nippon said spectators were hard pressed to believe the “valiant performance” was by a 53-year-old.

“Kazu is our pride,” J-League chairman Mitsuru Murai said.

“This great record that will go down in history will be a bright light… for all active players as well as children dreaming of being future players,” he added.

“We hope we’ll continue to play outstandingly,” the 61-year-old said.

Miura, who has been with Yokohama FC since 2005, was subbed after 56 minutes in a match which saw his side lose 3-2.

He received a standing ovation as he left the pitch, but said afterwards he was disappointed by his performance.

“I was able to receive the ball in the middle of the pitch but couldn’t work a lot around the penalty area, which made me feel that I left something to be desired,” he said after the game.

“I want to make use of today’s experience for the next competitions in the league.”

Kazu has been setting age records for some time, and he became the oldest man to play in Japan’s league cup competition earlier this year.

In 2017, he became the oldest player to score in a professional match.

He has insisted he won’t hang up his boots until he turns 60, and he continues to be a massive draw for fans in both Japan and abroad.

His latest record even earned attention from FIFA’s official Twitter account.

“All hail King Kazu,” it tweeted, complete with crown emojis.

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