Shunshuke Nakamura of the Yokohama F. Marinos won the J-League Player of the Year for the second time when it was awarded to him last Tuesday. It has only been a few days after his team lost their championship title bid when they missed the chance to win their final two games after having a four-point lead over the other teams, making way for defending champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima to retain the title. Nakamura’s first award was in 2000 also with the Marinos.
Despite losing the championship title, the 35-year-old Nakamura’s outstanding performance in the whole league made him the perfect choice to win the award, having scored 10 goals in 33 league appearances and missing only 1 game due to a gallbladder inflammation. Joining him in the J-League Best XI were fellow Marinos teammate and defender Yuri Nakazawa, Daisuke Nasu of the Urawa Reds and Masato Morishige from FC Tokyo. Also included were Sanfrecce goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa, Cerezo Osaka’s Hotaru Yamaguchi and Yoichiro Kakitani in the midfield with Nakamura and Sanfrecce’s Toshihiro Aoyama while YOshito Okubo from the Kawasaki Frontale, Yuya Osako from the Kashima Antlers and Kengo Kawamata from Albirex Niigata were the chosen forwards.
18-year old Takumi Minamino from Cerezo Osaka was named Best Young Player while teammate Yoichiro Kakitani bagged the Goal of the Year for his exceptional outside-of-the-foot goal against Kashima. Completing the awards is Sanfrecce’s Hajime Moriyasu who took home Manager of the Year award for the second time this year.