Football: Japan oldie Miura surpasses England legend Matthews as oldest pro player

Kazuyoshi Miura of Yokohama FC shooting against Matsumoto Yamaga during the J-League second-tier club match on Feb 26, 2017.
Kazuyoshi Miura of Yokohama FC shooting against Matsumoto Yamaga during the J-League second-tier club match on Feb 26, 2017. PHOTO: AFP
Kazuyoshi Miura posing with a bouquet of flowers presented to him by journalists to celebrate his 50th birthday, on Feb 26, 2017.
Kazuyoshi Miura posing with a bouquet of flowers presented to him by journalists to celebrate his 50th birthday, on Feb 26, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Twinkle-toed Japanese footballer Kazuyoshi Miura has racked up another astonishing landmark, by eclipsing the late England great Stanley Matthews in the record books with his second professional appearance since turning 50.

Miura, who last week became the first fiftysomething to grace the J-League, played in Sunday's 1-1 draw against V-Varen Nagasaki at 50 years and seven days - two days older than Matthews was when he turned out for Stoke against Fulham in 1965.

"(Matthews) was a legendary player for us," golden oldie Miura told the local media.

"I don't actually feel like I've gone past a legend. I may have surpassed him in longevity but I won't ever be able to match his statistics and the career he had," added the former Japan striker, dubbed "King Kazu" by his legion of fans.

"It's not so much about numbers anyway, it's more about how you play."

Miura lasted 54 minutes at Nagasaki, after playing for just over an hour in last weekend's 1-0 home win over division two rivals Matsumoto Yamaga.

Though the pin-up looks have been replaced by a few tell-tale wrinkles and greying hair, he has signalled his intent to play until he's 60.

He shot to fame in the early 1990s as Asia's best-known footballer, helping to put the Japanese game on the map after the professional J-League was launched in 1993.

He blazed a trail for Japanese players when he joined Italy's Genoa in 1994 and scored 55 goals in 89 games for Japan.

Matthews, who died aged 85 in 2000, enjoyed an illustrious 33-year career and won 84 England caps, including two appearances for Britain.

The former Stoke and Blackpool winger remains the only man to have played in England's top flight at 50.