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Kawasaki Frontale’s Yu Kobayashi named J. League MVP

Kyodo

Yu Kobayashi, who was the J. League’s top goalscorer and a key part of Kawasaki Frontale’s run to their first league title, was named J. League Most Valuable Player on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old Kobayashi, who scored 23 goals, became the sixth player to take the goalscoring crown and MVP award in the same season and the first since Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s Hisato Sato in 2012.

“I want to express my appreciation to my wife Naoko who cared for me through the many injuries I’ve endured since turning pro,” Kobayashi said.

The league’s Best Young Player Award went to 20-year-old Kashima Reysol center back Yuta Nakayama.

Frontale, who won the league title in dramatic fashion on Saturday, saw a league-high four players named to the competition’s Best Eleven. In addition to Kobayashi, midfielder Kengo Nakamura, and defenders Shintaro Kurumaya and Elsinho made the elite 11.

Kashima Antlers and Cerezo Osaka each had two players on the list, defenders Gen Shoji and Daigo Nishi for Antlers, and midfielder Hotaru Yamaguchi and 22-goal forward Kenyu Sugimoto for Cerezo.

The other Best Eleven-listed players were Reysol goalkeeper Kosuke Nakamura, Gamba Osaka midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi and Urawa Reds forward Shinzo Koroki.