Leon Balogun

Leon Aderemi Balogun (born 28 June 1988) is a German-Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a defender for Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion and the Nigerian national football team.

Leon Balogun
Balogun playing for Nigeria in 2017
Personal information
Full name Leon Aderemi Balogun[1]
Date of birth (1988-06-28) 28 June 1988
Place of birth West Berlin, West Germany
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)[2]
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Brighton & Hove Albion
Number 14
Youth career
Hertha BSC
0000–2007 Hertha Zehlendorf
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2007–2008 Türkiyemspor Berlin 29 (4)
2008–2010 Hannover 96 II 37 (1)
2008–2010 Hannover 96 3 (0)
2010–2012 Werder Bremen II 49 (4)
2010–2012 Werder Bremen 3 (0)
2012–2014 Fortuna Düsseldorf 28 (0)
2012–2014 Fortuna Düsseldorf II 4 (1)
2014–2015 Darmstadt 98 21 (4)
2015–2018 Mainz 05 52 (1)
2017 Mainz 05 II 1 (0)
2018– Brighton & Hove Albion 8 (1)
National team
2014– Nigeria 32 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:38, 6 January 2019
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 00:59, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

Club career

He made his Bundesliga debut on 19 April 2009 for Hannover 96 in a game against Hamburger SV.[3]

After his contract with 2. Bundesliga side Fortuna Düsseldorf had been 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.[4]

Brighton & Hove Albion

On 22 May 2018, Balogun signed a two-year deal with Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion.[5]

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.[6]

Balogun 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.[7]

Balogun played in his first ever EFL Cup match on 27 August 2019 in a 2–1 away win over Bristol Rovers.[8]

International career

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.[9] Balogun entered at the half, but was injured after 20 minutes in a collision with signage on the touchline. He fractured his foot and was to miss 2–3 months after surgery. However, he later confirmed to news media that his injury did not require surgery.[10][11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

Balogun was included in Nigeria's squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.[14] 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.[15] Balogun made 4 appearances in the competition where The Super Eagles finished as bronze medallists.[16]

Personal life

Balogun was born 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 resent 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.[17][18] 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.[19]

In November 2019 Balogun said there needed to be a collective response from players to racism in football.[20]

Career statistics

Club

As of 27 August 2019[21]
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Other Total
DivisionAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
Hannover 96 II 2008–09 Regionalliga Nord 211211
2009–10 Regionalliga Nord 160160
Total 371371
Hannover 96 2008–09 Bundesliga 10000010
2009–10 Bundesliga 20000020
Total 30000030
Werder Bremen II 2010–11 3. Liga 291291
2011–12 3. Liga 203203
Total 494494
Werder Bremen 2010–11 Bundesliga 30000030
2011–12 Bundesliga 00000000
Total 30000030
Fortuna Düsseldorf II 2012–13 Regionalliga West 2121
2013–14 Regionalliga West 2020
Total 4141
Fortuna Düsseldorf 2012–13 Bundesliga 1701000180
2013–14 2. Bundesliga 1101000120
Total 2802000300
Darmstadt 98 2014–15 2. Bundesliga 2140000214
Mainz 05 2015–16 Bundesliga 2112000180
2016–17 Bundesliga 170102[lower-alpha 1]0200
2017–18 Bundesliga 1401000150
Total 5214020581
Mainz 05 II 2016–17 3. Liga 1010
Brighton & Hove Albion 2018–19 Premier League 812000101
2019–20 Premier League 00001010
Total 81201000111
Career total 2061280102021712
  1. Appearances in UEFA Europa League

International

As of match played 10 July 2019[22]
Nigeria
YearAppsGoals
201410
201550
201630
201760
2018110
201960
Total320

Honours

Nigeria

References

  1. "2018/19 Premier League squads confirmed". Premier League. 3 September 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  2. "2018 FIFA World Cup Russia – List of Players" (PDF). FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  3. "Petric als Blitzarbeiter" (in German). kicker.de. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  4. "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.
  5. "Leon Balogun: Brighton sign Nigeria international on free transfer". BBC Sport. 22 May 2018.
  6. "Brighton 3–2 Man Utd: Brighton score three first-half goals to stun visitors – BBC Sport". BBC Sport. 19 August 2018.
  7. "Brighton 3–1 Crystal Palace: Ten-man Seagulls sweep Eagles aside – BBC Sport". BBC Sport. 4 December 2018.
  8. "Bristol Rovers v Brighton & Hove Albion - BBC Sport". BBC Sport. 27 August 2019. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  9. "Joseph Yobo ruled out of Nigeria friendly against Mexico". BBC Sport. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  10. "New Eagles star Balogun out for 2 months". MTNFootball.com. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  11. Wejinya, Sammy (14 March 2014). "Eagles' Balogun on the mend". SuperSport. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  12. Udoh, Colin (3 June 2018). "Super Eagles drop Aina, Agu from World Cup squad". ESPN. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  13. "World Cup - Football - BBC Sport". BBC Sport. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  14. "Nigeria - Football - BBC Sport". BBC Sport. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  15. "Africa Cup of Nations: Nigeria 1-0 Guinea - Omeruo header seals qualification". Sport. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  16. "Africa Cup of Nations third-place play-off - Tunisia 0–1 Nigeria - Live - BBC Sport". BBC Sport. 17 July 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  17. 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.
  18. Gleeson, Patrick (16 June 2018). "Leon Balogun: What can Premier League fans expect from Nigeria star?". Sporting News. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  19. "Why I did not learn Yoruba — Leon Balogun". Nigeria Village Square. 23 March 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  20. "Nigeria's Leon Balogun says fight against racism is a collective responsibility". 5 December 2019 via www.bbc.co.uk.
  21. Leon Balogun at Soccerway
  22. "Leon Balogun". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  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.
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