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Yuma Suzuki of Kashima named 2018 MVP

Tehran: Yuma Suzuki of Kashima Antlers was crowned the 2018 AFC Champions League Most Valuable Player (MVP) in Tehran on Saturday.

Suzuki's performances in the 2018 AFC Champions League played a pivotal role in Kashima's surge to the title for the first time, with the 22-year-old striker - with two goals to his name - having developed a solid understanding with Brazilian Serginho.

"I am really, really happy with the fact that I was selected for the ACL MVP. but this award is not just about myself but it’s the result of the team performance," said Suzuki.

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"I could not have been selected without the help of my teammates.

"So I want to dedicate this award to all my teammates, club staff, supporters and those who are involved at our club and of course my family. Specially my grandfather who always gives me praise whenever I get these awards

"Looking back at this year’s competition, we had to overcome many difficulties and for that reason this is a special award.

"I was emotional at the end because all the difficult times which we had to overcome came back to my mind as a flashback."

Head coach Go Oiwa lauded the player for his achievement, saying Suzuki deserved it for his consistency throughout the season.

"Reflecting on today's game, he really played well. He was our target man, he is our ace and he did his job perfectly.

"He has been selected for the Japan national team and he deserves the call-up. He will continue to develop, I am very sure of that," said Oiwa.