Japan and Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma was named the 2022 player of the year by the Japan Pro-Footballers Association on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old scored two late goals against Australia in March to send Japan to the World Cup in Qatar and also starred in the finals, where he set up the winner during a 2-1 comeback win over Spain in the group stage.
Mitoma was in scintillating form at the end of last season at Royal Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium and with Brighton in the English Premier League this season, quickly becoming a fan favorite.
"I was rated highly by the players who competed with me as teammates as well as those who faced me as opponents, and I can't be happier," Mitoma said in a video message.
"My aim is for the team (Brighton) to finish as high as possible, we're aiming for the top six. I want to focus on goals and assists and do my best to help my team win each match."
The JPFA has 1,654 male members as of Nov. 20, featuring players in the J1, J2 and J3 as well as Japanese players contracted to pro clubs overseas.
The JPFA's best eleven was dominated by World Cup stars, with Celtic forward Kyogo Furuhashi the only one not picked for the tournament in Qatar.
Daniel Schmidt (Sint-Truiden) was named the best goalkeeper, with Ko Itakura (Borussia Monchengladbach), Wataru Endo (Stuttgart) and Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal) forming the back three.
Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt), Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad) and Ritsu Doan (Freiburg) joined Mitoma in the four-man midfield, with Junya Ito (Reims) and Takuma Asano (Bochum) lining up alongside Furuhashi in attack.
New Celtic signing Tomoki Iwata was named the J1 player of the year after helping Yokohama F Marinos to the J-League top-flight title.