Marquinhos named J. League Player of the Year

Kashima Antlers’ Brazilian forward Marquinhos won the J. League Player of the Year Golden Ball in a double triumph after also taking the Golden Boot prize as the league’s leading goalscorer, it was announced at the J. League’s annual awards on Monday evening in Tokyo.

“I’m really happy to be given this honour, which I’ve achieved in my eighth season in the J. League. I’m thankful to God, my family and my teammates,” Marquinhos stated at the J. League Awards ceremony.
The Brazilian formerly played for Tokyo Verdy – for whom he made his J. League debut in 2001 – Yohohama F. Marinos, JEF United Ichihara and Shimizu S-Pulse before joining Kashima last year.
Marquinos struck 21 times in 30 league appearances this season – including a seven-game scoring streak from August 16 to October 1 – as he helped his side clinch the J. League title for the second successive year.
“It was tough season this year as the title race went down to the wire, but I think I’ve been awarded these prizes because I did what I was meant to do,” said Marquinhos. “I’d like to work hard and make 2009 another good year.”
In addition to Marquinhos, Kashima defenders Atsuto Uchida and Daiki Iwamasa were named to the league’s Best XI. Kashima’s Brazilian manager Oswaldo Oliveira also scooped the Manager of the Year prize after leading his team to their sixth league crown and 12th honor overall.
Oliveria said, “These are sensations that don’t come easily, and I’d like to thank the Kashima Family for giving me this nice feeling. I want them to think that this is their prize.”
Asian champions Gamba Osaka, who finished third in the FIFA Club World Cup, had two players on the Best XI – midfielder Yasuhito Endo, who was voted MVP of the AFC Champions League, and defender Satoshi Yamaguchi.
Joining them on the Best XI were: Nagoya Grampus Eight goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki and his teammate, midfielder Yoshizumi Ogawa; Urawa Reds defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka; Yokohama F. Marinos defender Yuji Nakazawa; Kawasaki Frontale midfielder Kengo Nakamura; and Kyoto Sanga forward Atsushi Yanagisawa.
Ogawa beat FC Tokyo full-back Yuto Nagatomo and Shimizu S-Pulse forward Kazuki Hara to the Rookie of the Year crown.
Marquinhos became the fourth player to do “the double” by winning the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot. He is also the ninth foreign player to be named Player of the Year since the start of the J. League in 1993.
The previous double-winners were Jubilo Iwata striker Masashi Nakayama in 1998, striker Naohiro Takahara (then with Jubilo) in 2002, and Gamba Osaka’s Brazilian forward Araujo in 2005.

Awards winners:
Player of the Year – Marquinhos (Kashima Antlers)
Best XI – Seigo Narazaki (Nagoya Grampus), Daiki Iwamasa (Kashima Antlers), Atsuto Uchida (Kashima Antlers), Marcus Tulio Tanaka (Urawa Reds), Yuji Nakazawa (Yokohama F. Marinos), Satoshi Yamaguchi (Gamba Osaka), Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Yoshizumi Ogawa (Nagoya Grampus), Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Marquinhos (Gamba Osaka), Atsushi Yanagisawa (Kyoto Sanga)
Golden Boot (top goalscorer) – Marquinhos (Kashima Antlers)
Rookie of the Year – Yoshizumi Ogawa (Nagoya Grampus)
Prince Takamado Fair Play Prize – Shimizu S-Pulse
Fair Play Player – Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Jubilo Iwata)
Manager of the Year – Oswaldo Oliveira (Kashima Antlers)
Referee of the Year – Toshimitsu Yoshida
Assistant Referee of the Year – Yoshikazu Hiroshima
J. League Best Pitch– Nihondaira Stadium
Players deemed to have made special contributions – Yutaka Akira (formerly with Kyoto Sanga), Akira Narahashi (formerly with Shonan Bellmare), Hisashi Kurosaki (formerly with Omiya Ardija), Motohiro Yamaguchi (formerly with Yokohama FC)
Special Award – Gamba Osaka
J. League Chairman Special Award – Gamba Osaka