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  • Naka lifts J-League MVP Award for second time after 13 years

    Naka lifts J-League MVP Award for second time after 13 years

    By: Joe Sullivan on 10 Dec, 2013 17:05

  • FORMER Celt, Shunsuke Nakamura has lifted the J-League Most Valuable Player award for 2013 – a full 13 years after he first won the accolade.

    He first lifted the award in 2000 during his first spell with Yokohama F  Marinos before moving to Italy with Reggina in 2002 and arriving at Celtic in 2005 where he immediately became a fans’ favourite.

    Marinos came close to lifting the J-League title this year but were pipped at the post by defending champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

    However, Naka was always favourite to lift the L-League MVP award and he is the very first player win the accolade for a second time.

    He said:  “I am feeling two emotions right now. One is happiness and the other is appreciation for what my team-mates have done for me.

    “Ten of my team-mates were nominated for the J-League Best XI, and that just shows the quality of the players around me who have made it possible for me to win this award.”

    Nakamura, who scored 10 goals in 33 league appearances this season, was also named in the J-League Best XI.

    The midfielder joined Celtic from Reggina at the start of the 2005/06 season and made an immediate impact with a Man of the Match performance in his debut – a 2-0 win over Dundee United.

    That was the first of 166 games in the Hoops in which he scored 33 goals before leaving for Espanyol in 2009 but the memories of his pin-point long-range strikes for Celtic still remain – with amazing goals against Rangers, Kilmarnock to lift the title and Manchester United in the Champions League topping the list.


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