Nigeria international Leon Balogun has joined Bundesliga side Mainz in a three-year deal after a successful spell with Darmstadt where he starred in a fairytale run that culminated in promotion to the Bundesliga. Leon told supersport.com that he was very happyy and grateful for this opportunity.
“I think it’s a good move to a team that has established itself over the last few years in the Bundesliga.
“I’m very excited to reach my goals with the new club and I am looking forward to a new start.”
The 26-year-old moves to Mainz as a free-agent after ending his contract with Darmstadt 98 but he remains grateful for the opportunity they gave him to pick up his career after injuring his leg while making his international debut for Nigeria against Mexico in Atlanta in March 2014 and not having his contract renewed by Fortuna Dusseldorf as a result.
I’m very grateful for everything SV Darmstadt 98 has done for me. It was them who gave me the opportunity to step on the stage again after my injury.”
“What we made out of it was sensational…almost a miracle. Without them, none of this would have happened. So I give thanks to everybody at the club, because it was them who believed in me and my abilities.”
Mainz’s sporting Director said they were made aware of Balogun during his time at Fortuna Düsseldorf, but then he suffered an injury which threw him off course.
“A strong season with Darmstadt 98 put him back on our radar. He is a physically strong, dynamic right back who can also play in the centre of defence. We are looking forward to having such a highly motivated and ambitious player, who is really passionate about playing in the Bundesliga.”
Balogun has previously played for Hannover 96 (2008-2010), Werder Bremen (2010-2012) and Fortuna Düsseldorf (2012- 2014), accumulating 23 appearances in the Bundesliga, as well as 32 in the 2. Bundesliga and 49 in the third division.
After breaking his foot during his international debut in March 2014, he signed last year for Darmstadt 98.
“In Leon Balogun we have found an aggressive, strong-tackling fullback, who is also flexible across the back-four. He is a nice, intelligent guy who will not just enhance our team on the pitch, but also in the changing room,” coach Martin Schmidt said to mainz05.de.
“I’m looking forward to the upcoming challenge. Mainz 05 has established itself in the Bundesliga in the last few years, just like I’d like to do. This is a very good opportunity for me and I am very happy and proud to be a future part of the 05s,” Balogun added in another chat with mainz05.de.