The oldest active professional footballer in the world, the venerable Kazuyoshi Miura, extended his record this week when he came off the bench to help seal a victory for Japanese side Suzuka Point Getters.
Miura -- affectionately known as "King Kazu" in Japan -- was introduced as a late substitute in a 1-0 win for the aptly named Point Getters at the grand old age of 55 years and 225 days, thus beating his own record.
His Highness entered the fray in the 76th minute in what proved to be a narrow victory over Criacao Shinjuku at the newly rebuilt National Stadium in Tokyo. The game was played in front of 16,218 fans, which also constitutes a new record for the Japanese Football League (fourth tier).
"I'm grateful to have played in the best atmosphere possible, and feel proud," Miura told reporters after the game.
Miura left Yokohama FC at the tender age of 54 to move to Suzuka on loan back in January. He immediately became the oldest player in the squad by 19 years at the Point Getters, who just so happen to be managed by the veteran striker's older brother, 57-year-old Yasutoshi Miura.
Kazu had previously spent 16 years on the books at Yokohama FC, celebrating both his 40th and 50th birthday with the club, but left following their relegation to J2 League.
Now, in his 37th campaign as a professional which has taken in playing stints at Genoa in Italy, Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia and Sydney FC in Australia, he remains as committed as ever.
"Having got the chance to play at a place like this, I'll be staying humble and keep going without forgetting the hunger," he said.
Of course, there are myriad examples of superannuated footballers who simply refused to quit playing the game they love and instead kept on plugging away into the 40s, 50s, 60s and -- in some exceptionally rare cases -- beyond.
With the rigours on their body comparatively lesser, goalkeepers tend to fare better when it comes to extended careers but there are several exceptional instances of outfield players carrying on well into their footballing dotage.
Teddy Sheringham is the oldest outfield player ever to appear in the Premier League when, aged 40 years and 272 days, the former England striker turned out for West Ham United against Manchester City in December 2006.
This came just four days after Sheringham became the Premier League's oldest goal scorer when he notched a consolation goal for the Hammers in a 2-1 defeat at Portsmouth, aged 40 years and 268 days -- a record that still stands to this day.
There are seven outfielders who feature in the Top 10 of oldest footballers to have appeared in a competitive professional division, with Sheringham actually being the youngest.
Rivaldo is next on the list, having also eked out the meandering latter stages of his career into his mid-40s. Indeed, the former Barcelona midfielder clocked up the final competitive appearance of his career for Brazilian club Mogi Mirim at the age of 43 years and 117 days.
Next up is Bosnian striker Aleksandar Duric, who spent so long playing in Singapore that he eventually qualified to play for them at international level. The striker spent the final four years of his career playing for Tampines Rovers, making his final appearance aged 44 years and 85 days.
A former teammate of King Kazu's, Japanese legend and set-piece specialist Shunsuke Nakamura is still plugging away in J2 League with Yokohama FC at the age of 44 years and 109 days. Nakamura enjoyed an incredibly successful spell with Celtic in the mid 2000s before returning home to Japan in 2010 to sign with Yokohama F. Marinos before ultimately moving to their cross-town neighbours Yokohama FC in 2019.
When it comes to the oldest outfield players on record, Sir Stanley Matthews is in second place having played on past his half-century. Indeed, the wing wizard played his final competitive league game for Stoke City, bowing out with in a 3-1 victory over Fulham just five days after celebrating his 50th birthday. Matthews' record stood for 56 years until Miura claimed it and then repeatedly broke it with every subsequent appearance he made, and continues to do so into his 56th year.
This 74-year-old Egyptian grandfather became the world's oldest footballer 🇪🇬⚽️💪— Gehad Kenawy (@GehadSoliman1) October 24, 2020
Ezzeldin Bahader has been honoured by the Guinness World Records (@GWR) as the oldest professional soccer player. https://t.co/rhp57EVx35
However, King Kazu is a humble spring chicken in comparison to the owner of the official Guinness World Record for the oldest appearance in a professional, organised soccer match.
That esteemed honour belongs to Ezzeldin Bahader, who was 74 years and 125 days when he turned out for 6th of October FC (that's the name of the team) against El Ayat Sports in the Egyptian third tier in October 2020. He took the record previously held by 73-year-old Israeli Isaak Hayik.
Bahader initially made his debut the previous March, even scoring a penalty in a game against Genius, but was forced to wait for his second appearance after the COVID-19 pandemic saw all sporting activity in Egypt suspended on safety grounds.
Miura has said in the past that he hopes to play professionally until he is 60. If he does that, he would still need to keep going for the length of a decent professional career for a normal player before he reached Bahader's record. Will he do it? Ask us again in 2040!