Former Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata was crowned champion as his current side, Vissel Kobe won the league title.
Kobe achieved the incredible feat on Saturday following their 2-1 win against Nagoya Grampus. This followed Yokohama F. Marinos’ – their closest challengers – goalless draw vs. Niigata on Friday.
Mata’s side won the J. League with one game to spare.
The Spaniard did not feature during Kobe’s clash against Nagoya Grampus. He could only watch on from the bench as his teammates secured the win.
Kobe scored two goals in the space of 14 minutes through Haruya Ide and Yoshinori Muto.
Rival player Kasper Junker halved the deficit at the half-hour mark but Takayuki Yoshida’s men were resolute enough and held on to their lead.
Mata joined Kobe in early September after a successful spell in Istanbul with Turkish giants Galatasaray.
With Galatasaray, Mata also won the league back in May – his playing days after departing Old Trafford have certainly been trophy-laden.
For Galatasaray, Mata played in 18 games across all competitions.
Last term, Kobe struggled for form and finished in 13th place. However this campaign, the Japanese giants have been excellent and have now reaped the rewards of their efforts.
When Mata moved to Kobe, the ex-United man declared that he was keen on delivering a league title and he has now kept his promise, despite only playing one game.
His only appearance came as a substitute for just 10 minutes during a 2-0 defeat against Sanfrecce Hiroshima in September.
The 35-year-old said, “I’m really looking forward to playing in this stadium in front of your fans with the aim of winning the first league for Vissel Kobe.”
“I will try my best to help the team to win this trophy, to put one more trophy in my career, hopefully the first one of many.”