Leon Balogun

Leon Aderemi Balogun (born 28 June 1988) is a professional footballer who plays as a defender for Scottish Premiership champions Rangers and the Nigeria national team.

Leon Balogun
Leon Balogun-Nigeria.jpg
Balogun playing for Nigeria in 2017
Personal information
Full name Leon Aderemi Balogun[1]
Date of birth (1988-06-28) 28 June 1988 (age 32)[2]
Place of birth Berlin, West Germany
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)[3]
Position(s) Defender
Club information
Current team
Rangers
Number 26
Youth career
Hertha BSC
Hertha Zehlendorf
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2007–2008 Türkiyemspor Berlin 29 (4)
2008–2010 Hannover 96 3 (0)
2010–2012 Werder Bremen 3 (0)
2012–2014 Fortuna Düsseldorf 28 (0)
2014–2015 Darmstadt 98 21 (4)
2015–2018 Mainz 05 52 (1)
2018–2020 Brighton & Hove Albion 8 (1)
2019-2020Wigan Athletic (loan) 6 (0)
2020 Wigan Athletic 5 (0)
2020– Rangers 19 (0)
National team
2014– Nigeria 32 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 9 April 2021
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 00:59, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

Club careerEdit

Early careerEdit

He made his Bundesliga debut on 19 April 2009 for Hannover 96 in a game against Hamburger SV.[4]

After his contract with 2. Bundesliga side Fortuna Düsseldorf expired in summer 2014, he was without a club for three months until he joined fellow leaguer Darmstadt 98. He signed a contract until the end of the 2014–15 season.[5]

Brighton & Hove AlbionEdit

On 22 May 2018, Balogun signed a two-year deal with Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion.[6]

Balogun made his competitive debut for the Sussex club coming on as an early substitute against Manchester United replacing injured Lewis Dunk. The Seagulls went on to beat United 3–2 at The Amex.[7]

He scored his first goal for the Albion to make it 2–0 against bitter rivals Crystal Palace at The Amex where he scored in 25 seconds after being subbed on replacing Pascal Groß as a result of a Shane Duffy red card for head butting. The game finished 3–1 to the Albion to claim the boasting rights in the M23 derby.[8]

On 27 August 2019, Balogun played in his first ever EFL Cup match in a 2–1 away win over Bristol Rovers.[9]

Wigan AthleticEdit

Balogun signed for Wigan Athletic on 31 January 2020 on a six-month loan deal.[10] On 25 June 2020, he signed a short term permanent contract with the Latics until the end of the 2019–20 season.[11]

RangersEdit

Balogun signed for Scottish Premiership club Rangers on 24 July 2020 on a one-year contract, with an option in the club's favour to extend for a further year.[12] He made his debut for Rangers a week later, on 1 August, in a Scottish Premiership match against Aberdeen where he impressed during a 1-0 win.[13] During February 2021, he deputised at right back after an injury to club captain James Tavernier and the suspension of reserve player Nathan Patterson. Balogun previously played at right back earlier in his career when in Germany.[14] On 9 April 2021, Balogun signed a new one-year contract with Rangers.[15]

International careerEdit

 
Balogun with Nigeria against Iceland at the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Born to a Nigerian father and German mother, Balogun was called up by Nigeria for a March 2014 friendly against Mexico as a replacement for Joseph Yobo.[16] Balogun entered at half-time, but was injured after 20 minutes in a collision with signage on the touchline. He fractured his foot and was set to miss 2–3 months after surgery. However, he later confirmed to news media that his injury did not require surgery.[17][18]

On 25 March 2015, he played his second game for Nigeria in a 1–0 loss against Uganda. He played his third game for the country on 13 June 2015 when he featured in a 2–0 win over Chad in the opening game of qualifying for the 2017 African Nations Cup.

In June 2018, he was named in Nigeria’s final 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.[19] Balogun played in every minute of the three games Nigeria played in, including a 2–0 win over Iceland, but were eliminated after finishing 3rd in their group.[20]

Balogun was included in Nigeria's squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.[21] His first appearance in the competition came in Nigeria's second group game against Guinea in which Nigeria won 1–0 to seal qualification into the knockouts.[22] Balogun made 4 appearances in the competition where The Super Eagles finished as bronze medallists.[23]

Personal lifeEdit

Balogun was born in Berlin, West Germany[24] to a Nigerian-Yoruba father and a German mother. Balogun was raised Roman Catholic and sent to Catholic school from a young age, but he resented his strict upbringing and became an atheist in his formative years. However during the hardships of early footballing career Balogun started believing in God again and is now a devout Christian.[25][26] Balogun speaks fluent English and German, but does not speak Yoruba, the language of his father as his parents tried to assimilate him in German culture.[27]

In November 2019 Balogun said there needed to be a collective response from players to racism in football.[28]

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

As of 21 March 2021[29]
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Hannover 96 II 2008–09 Regionalliga Nord 21 1 21 1
2009–10 Regionalliga Nord 16 0 16 0
Total 37 1 37 1
Hannover 96 2008–09 Bundesliga 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2009–10 Bundesliga 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Total 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Werder Bremen II 2010–11 3. Liga 29 1 29 1
2011–12 3. Liga 20 3 20 3
Total 49 4 49 4
Werder Bremen 2010–11 Bundesliga 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
2011–12 Bundesliga 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Fortuna Düsseldorf II 2012–13 Regionalliga West 2 1 2 1
2013–14 Regionalliga West 2 0 2 0
Total 4 1 4 1
Fortuna Düsseldorf 2012–13 Bundesliga 17 0 1 0 0 0 18 0
2013–14 2. Bundesliga 11 0 1 0 0 0 12 0
Total 28 0 2 0 0 0 30 0
Darmstadt 98 2014–15 2. Bundesliga 21 4 0 0 0 0 21 4
Mainz 05 2015–16 Bundesliga 21 1 2 0 0 0 18 0
2016–17 Bundesliga 17 0 1 0 2[a] 0 20 0
2017–18 Bundesliga 14 0 1 0 0 0 15 0
Total 52 1 4 0 2 0 58 1
Mainz 05 II 2016–17 3. Liga 1 0 1 0
Brighton & Hove Albion 2018–19 Premier League 8 1 2 0 0 0 10 1
2019–20 Premier League 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
Total 8 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 11 1
Wigan Athletic (loan) 2019–20 Championship 6 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
Wigan Athletic 2019–20 Championship 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Total 11 0 0 0 0 0 11 0
Rangers 2020–21 Scottish Premiership 19 0 0 0 1 0 8 0 28 0
Career total 236 12 8 0 2 0 10 0 251 11
  1. ^ Appearances in UEFA Europa League

InternationalEdit

As of match played 10 July 2019[30]
Nigeria
Year Apps Goals
2014 1 0
2015 5 0
2016 3 0
2017 6 0
2018 11 0
2019 6 0
Total 32 0

HonoursEdit

Rangers

Nigeria

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "2018/19 Premier League squads confirmed". Premier League. 3 September 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Leon Balogun: Overview". ESPN. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  3. ^ "Leon Balogun: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Petric als Blitzarbeiter" (in German). kicker.de. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  5. ^ "Lilien verstärken sich mit Leon Balogun" [Lilien strengthens with Leon Balogun] (in German). SV Darmstadt 98. 2 October 2014. Archived from the original on 4 October 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Leon Balogun: Brighton sign Nigeria international on free transfer". BBC Sport. 22 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Brighton 3–2 Man Utd: Brighton score three first-half goals to stun visitors – BBC Sport". BBC Sport. 19 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Brighton 3–1 Crystal Palace: Ten-man Seagulls sweep Eagles aside – BBC Sport". BBC Sport. 4 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Bristol Rovers v Brighton & Hove Albion - BBC Sport". BBC Sport. 27 August 2019. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  10. ^ "LATICS COMPLETE LOAN SIGNING OF BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION DEFENDER LEON BALOGUN". Wigan Athletic FC. 31 January 2020. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Update | Wigan Athletic Player Contracts". Wigan Athletic. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  12. ^ "Rangers sign Leon Balogun". Rangers F.C. 24 July 2020. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  13. ^ Lindsay, Clive (1 August 2020). "Aberdeen 0-1 Rangers". BBC Sport. BBC.
  14. ^ Forsyth, Paul (20 February 2021). "Leon Balogun prepared to park his ego to play at right back". The Times.
  15. ^ "LEON BALOGUN EXTENDS HIS RANGERS CONTRACT". Rangers FC. 9 April 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Joseph Yobo ruled out of Nigeria friendly against Mexico". BBC Sport. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  17. ^ "New Eagles star Balogun out for 2 months". MTNFootball.com. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  18. ^ Wejinya, Sammy (14 March 2014). "Eagles' Balogun on the mend". SuperSport. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  19. ^ Udoh, Colin (3 June 2018). "Super Eagles drop Aina, Agu from World Cup squad". ESPN. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  20. ^ "World Cup - Football - BBC Sport". BBC Sport. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  21. ^ "Nigeria - Football - BBC Sport". BBC Sport. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  22. ^ "Africa Cup of Nations: Nigeria 1-0 Guinea - Omeruo header seals qualification". Sport. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  23. ^ "Africa Cup of Nations third-place play-off - Tunisia 0–1 Nigeria - Live - BBC Sport". BBC Sport. 17 July 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  24. ^ "Leon Balogun: Profile". worldfootball.net. HEIM:SPIEL. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  25. ^ Dede, Steve (11 September 2017). "Bologun said he found strength in religion when he was struggling to make the grade as a teenager". pulse.ng. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  26. ^ Gleeson, Patrick (16 June 2018). "Leon Balogun: What can Premier League fans expect from Nigeria star?". Sporting News. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  27. ^ "Why I did not learn Yoruba — Leon Balogun". Nigeria Village Square. 23 March 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  28. ^ "Nigeria's Leon Balogun says fight against racism is a collective responsibility". 5 December 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  29. ^ Leon Balogun at Soccerway
  30. ^ "Leon Balogun". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  31. ^ "Rangers top-flight champions for first time since 2011 after Celtic drop points". BBC Sport. 7 March 2021. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  32. ^ "Africa Cup of Nations third-place play-off - Tunisia 0–1 Nigeria - Live - BBC Sport". BBC Sport. 17 July 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2019.

External linksEdit