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Leon Balogun

Who is Leon Balogun?

Leon Aderemi Balogun, commonly known as Leon Balogun, was born on 28 June 1988. Leon is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Scottish Premiership club Rangers.

Leon signed for the Gers in summer 2020 on a one-year deal, with an option in Rangers’ favour to extend for a further year. Balogun made his debut for the Scottish giants a week later, on 1 August, in a Premiership game with Aberdeen where the defender impressed during a 1-0 victory.

In February 2021, Leon deputised at right-back after an injury to Rangers captain James Tavernier and the suspension of reserve footballer Nathan Patterson. The Nigerian footballer recently played at right-back earlier in his career when in Germany.

On 9 April 2021, the 33-year-old defender signed a new one-year deal with the Gers. Balogun made his Bundesliga debut on 19 April 2009 for Hannover 96 in a match with Hamburger.

After his deal with German club Fortuna Düsseldorf expired in summer 2014, Balogun was without a team for three months until he joined Darmstadt. The African defender signed a deal until the end of the 2014–15 campaign.

What is Leon Balogun’s international career like?

Born to a Nigerian father and German mother, Leon was called up by Nigeria for a March 2014 friendly game with Mexico to replace Joseph Yobo. Leon entered at half-time but was injured after 20 minutes in a collision with signage on the touchline.

Balogun fractured his foot and was ready to miss 2–3 months after surgery. However, Leon later confirmed to the news media that his injury did not require an operation. On 25 March 2015, Balogun played his second match for the national team in a 1–0 loss with Uganda.

The 33-year-old defender played his third match for Nigeria on 13 June 2015 when he featured in a 2–0 victory over Chad in the opening match of qualifying for the 2017 African Nations Cup. In June 2018, Balogun was named in Nigeria’s final 23-man team for Russia’s 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Leon played in every minute of the three matches the Super Eagles played in, including a 2–0 victory over Iceland, but were eliminated after finishing 3rd in their group. Leon was included in Nigeria’s team for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

His first game in the tournament came in the Super Eagles’ second group match with Guinea, in which Nigeria won 1–0 to seal qualification into the knockouts. Leon played four games in the tournament, where Nigeria finished in third place.

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