Few awards are as anticipated as Goal of the Year. While most awards are about sustained greatness and excellent results, Goal of the Year is about a single moment, which fans will remember forever for the excitement and awe it brought to them.
For 2021, your MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE Goal of the Year winner is Nagoya Grampus’ Yoichiro Kakitani for his breathtaking flick to himself and bicycle kick against Cerezo Osaka in matchweek 37.
The season was filled with tremendous goals, be they long distance lasers, dribbling masterpieces, cheeky chips or gorgeous team moves, but Kakitani blew them away in the penultimate week of the season.
When Kakitani gets the ball at 12 yards, he’s facing away from the goal with several defenders between him and the net. Simply put, he had no reasonable way to score. But Kakitani had a bit of magic in him to find a completely unreasonable path to goal - with a flick and a bicycle kick perfectly placed off the inside of the post and then into the net.
Sensational. Spectacular. Awesome.
The list of adjectives to describe Kakitani’s goal goes on and on, but there is also another way to sum up his brilliance - Goal of the Year.