Brazilian striker Araujo, who finished the season as top scorer with 33 goals, is among 30 nominees for the Player of the Year award named by the J. League on Thursday. The nominees also include Japan striker Masashi Oguro, who formed a striking partnership with Araujo to help Gamba Osaka win their first league championship, and former national team forward Akinori Nishizawa of Cerezo Osaka. Nishizawa scored both goals in the 2-2 draw at home to FC Tokyo on the final day of the season last Saturday — a result that saw Cerezo miss out on the championship and settle for a fifth-place finish in the closest title race in league history. A total of five Cerezo players earned nominations, the most among the 18 first-division teams. The Player of the Year will be announced at the J. League Awards ceremony on Dec. 20.

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