Super Eagles defender, Leon Balogun, has revealed his a personal motivation ahead of the Europa Cup final between his Scottish Premiership side Rangers and Bundesliga club, Eintracht Frankfurt.
The defender was in action as The Gers ran out 3-1 winners over RB Leipzig with goals from James Tavernier, Glen Kamara and John Lundstram.
Christopher Nkunku scored a consolation goal for the German side to make it 3-2 on aggregate after the first leg ended 1-0.
Glasgow Times reports that Balogun who was born in Germany has revealed a personal angle to the motivation needed as Rangers get set to face Frankfurt after knocking out two German clubs, Borrussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, en route to the Europa Cup final.
“I was born and raised in Germany, I used to play for Mainz and they have quite a rivalry with Eintracht Frankfurt,” Glasgow Times quotes Balogun as saying.
“So for me, it’s personal as well. I have to make two teams proud.
“But I am 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 Cup final] when I joined Rangers, but you always have to dream big.
“I don’t think we started this campaign thinking we were going to make it all the way to the final, the feeling grew with each game especially after the Dortmund game.
“We were like ‘okay,we can do this. We drew Dortmund, we can make that’. We knocked Dortmund out of the way.
Balogun added: “Now we are in that place [Europa Cup final] where we dreamed of and we have to make it for the club, for us personally, but also for Jimmy [Jimmy Bell – Rangers kitman who just passed away]. 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.
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“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.”
Balogun, 33, starred for Bundesliga side, FSV Mainz 05 for three seasons before joining Brighton and Hove Albion in 2018. He also played for another English side, Wigan for a season before switching to Rangers in July 2020.
Balogun has scored two goals in 10 Europa Cup appearances for Rangers so far this season. It’s the defender’s total goal haul in 34 games across all competitions this term.
Rangers will take on Eintracht Frankfurt in the 2021/22 Europa Cup final on Wednesday May 18 2022 at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizuan Stadium in Seville Spain.
By Toju Sote
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