Leon Balogun is a German-Nigerian defender who has fallen out of football news in recent years due to mediocre performances, however, he was given another chance this season, when he joined the Premier League team, which only adds to his rich and interesting career as a footballer, who played for 8 different clubs in his career.
Leon Aderemi Balogun was born to a Nigerian father and German mother in June 1988. He was raised Roman Catholic and was sent to Catholic school, but it is said that his upbringing was strict, which made him rethink his beliefs and became an atheist once he grew up. This changed during hard times in his football career when he once again started believing in God and is now a devout Christian. Another interesting fact about Leon Balogun is that he speaks German and English, but does not speak Yoruba, the language of his father, because his parents wanted him to assimilate into German culture.
Leon Balogun started off his football career at Zehlendorf U19, from where he moved to Turkiyemspor in 2007. In his new team, Leon Balogun remained for one year, during which he accumulated 29 appearances and scored 4 goals. With his impressive work rate, it did not take long for other German teams to take notice. While he did play at a lower tier team, in summer of 2018, Leon Balogun joined Hannover 96 in a free transfer. He remained at his new club for two years during which he accumulated 37 appearances. In 2010 Leon Balogun moved to Werder Bremen II team, who played in the 4th tier of German football. After once again proving himself, he got a chance to play for Fortuna Dusseldorf, who brought him in the club in the summer of 2014, however, once his 2-year contract expired, Leon Balogun was left without a club. This was also the point when Leon Balogun football career hit rock bottom, and the time of his life when he again started to believe in God. With the help of God or by pure luck, Leon Balogun got a chance to play for Darmstadt 98, the 3rd division team, who offered him a 3-year contract.
Leon Balogun once again proved himself in his new club and got an offer to represent FSV Mainz 05, which got him a chance to play in the highest tier of German football; the Bundesliga. Since arriving at Mainz, Leon Balogun career skyrocketed. The same year that Leon Balogun joined his new club, Mainz ended the season 6th, which was the 2nd best league finish for this team in its entire history. A year later, however, Mainz finished 15th and 14th in 2017/18 season. While his team was not performing on the level they would have wanted, Leon Balogun played well, which got him a chance to test himself in the Premier League after receiving an offer from Brighton to join their squad.
The deal with Brighton was set in stone in the summer of 2018 when Leon Balogun was sold for a fee of €2 million.
However, since joining his new club, Leon Balogun only played 10 games, out of which he started only 5 times. While he still fights to be the preferred starter for the Seagulls, Leon Balogun admitted he knew establishing himself as a preferred option would not be a walk in the park. Nonetheless, he is happy with how his football career turned out, and the fact that he climbed from the 6th division of German football league to one of the strongest football leagues in the world, is an impressive achievement.
In addition to representing the Seagulls, Leon Balogun also racked up 26 appearances for Nigeria, who selected him to travel to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
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