African All Stars

Europa League: Balogun reveals why Rangers versus Frankfurt final will be personal

12:05 EAT 07/05/2022
Nigeria defender Leon Balogun Rangers.
The 33-year-old explains how he has a score to settle when the Gers travel to Seville to face the German side in the final on May 18

Nigeria international Leon Balogun has admitted he will have a score to settle when Rangers take on Eintracht Frankfurt in the final of the Europa League at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville.

The 33-year-old Super Eagle was among the key players for manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst as the Gers reached the final set for May 18 following a 3-2 aggregate result against German side RB Leipzig at Ibrox Stadium on Thursday.

“I was born and raised in Berlin, Germany. I used to play for Mainz and they have quite a rivalry with Eintracht Frankfurt,” Balogun said as quoted by Glasgow Times. “So for me, it’s personal as well. I have to make two teams proud.

“But I am very confident that with this group, with this bunch of players, we can achieve that big dream that everybody now has and had before the game. I didn’t think about [getting to a European final when I joined Rangers]. But you always have to dream big.”

Balogun has further admitted the team was not sure whether they will reach the final of the competition but their belief started to grow after they eliminated Borrusia Dortmund.

“I don’t think we started this campaign thinking that we were going to make it all the way to the final. The belief grew with every game, especially after the Dortmund game,” Balogun continued.

“We were like ‘okay, we can do this, we drew Dortmund, we can make that’. We knocked Dortmund out of the way. Now are in that place that we dreamed of and we have to make it for the club, for us personally, but also for Jimmy. We have to make sure we win both finals.

“We just took it one game at a time, but I think you have to go into every game knowing that you can make it. When we drew Leipzig, everyone was going ‘okay, that’s a tough one’. But we had prominent support I would say.

“I spoke to Toni Rudiger a few weeks back and he said: ‘You know, you’re going to make it, you’ll see’. He was right. Now we have made it to the final, we have to win it.”

Apart from Balogun, other African players in the Rangers squad include his Super Eagles compatriots Joe Aribo, Calvin Bassey, and Zambia international Fashion Sakala.