Portrait 31 August 2023, 09:55

Rouge et Blanc, "Titi", his last name… All you need to know about Folarin Balogun!

Rouge et Blanc, "Titi", his last name… All you need to know about Folarin Balogun!
Arriving in the Principality on Wednesday to join AS Monaco until June 2028, the American international striker has several unique characteristics. So before seeing him debut in Ligue 1 in La Diagonale, here's all you need to know about him.

He is the latest big signing to be made official by the Principality club! Fourth-top scorer in Ligue 1 last season with Stade de Reims (21 goals), Folarin Balogun has decided hs future, signing with AS Monaco until 2028. While we wait to see his debut under Adi Hütter, xhere are eleven things to know about the young Arsenal-trained goalscorer.

The second American to play for AS Monaco 🇺🇸

Before anything else, Folarin Balogun is only the second American to play for AS Monaco! Before him, only Freddy Adu had taken the plunge by joining the Principality club in 2008. Joining from Benfica Lisbon, the striker would only stay at the foot of the Rock for one season (10 games). His successor has signed up for the next five seasons on the shores of the Mediterranean.

He was already “Red and White” 🔴⚪

It may be a detail for some, but it already means a lot! Whether at his forever club, Arsenal, in the Championship with Middlesbrough, or for his first season in Ligue 1 with Reims, the native of New York has played in just two colors: red and white. It’s a coincidence that suits him perfectly, and which he will therefore be able to resume with pleasure in the Principality, in the home jersey of AS Monaco, La Diagonale.

He started… as a central defender! 👀

If he is a hit today as a center forward, the 22-year-old striker has not always played in attack. “I started at a club called Aldersbrook in East London when I was 6 or 7 years old. I played in the local team with my classmates. We had matches every Sunday and at that time, I was playing as a central defender! I was very fast and I was doing well with the ball so my coach put me there. It didn’t bother me because, at that age, the only thing that matters is that is to play! I tried to make up for the mistakes of my teammates and, when I had the ball, I made openings for our attackers,” he told Ligue 1’s official site.

He scored his first professional goal with his first touch of the match 🎯

It is November 26, 2020. Arsenal are playing their fourth group match in the Europa League away to Norwegian club Molde FK. After playing 16 minutes in a previous match in this European campaign against Dundalk, Folarin Balogun was brought on by Mikel Arteta at the very end of the meeting (82′). A minute later, and with his first touch of the ball, the Anglo-American striker returned the confidence to the Spanish coach by scoring his first professional goal.

His “mentor” is a prolific scorer in Ligue 1 🤝

He knew it during his professional debut with the Gunners. A sort of “big brother” for him at Arsenal, Alexandre Lacazette has advised Folarin a lot, who retains a very good image of his former teammate. “He’s a very great player. He always helped me when I was there. He tried to help me progress, gave me advice, taught me moves. I remember he told me to come to Ligue 1, that I could prove myself here”, he explained last year when speaking to Prime Video.

A fan of Kylian Mbappé in 2017 🎞

If he is grateful for knowing the second-top scorer in Ligue 1 last season, he also admires the Golden Boot winner. “Kylian Mbappé? I’ve followed him on social media  because I remember him with Monaco in 2017. He was very young at the time and always scored against the big teams”, recalled the Stade de Reims striker, again in an interview with the Ligue 1 broadcaster.

The same celebration as “Titi” 🔥

Another Gunner, a legend, has also influenced the American international:”For me Thierry Henry is someone very special. He has done so many things in his career”, he  says about the 1998 World champion. Perhaps this is reason why he has often borrowed one of the new coach of Les Espoirs‘  favorite celebrations: a knee slide! In any case, “Titi” is full of praise for Folarin: “What I like about him is that he’s an English striker, who can play deep, who can beat his man and apply the press. He finishes well, he’s not afraid of anyone, and that’s important!”

He took 20 minutes to make his mark in Ligue 1 ⌚

In life, the newest Monegasque is certainly someone who wastes no time. He is precocious, and that is exactly the term that best characterizes his debut in the French top flight. Comin on in the 64th minute of Reims’ match at the Stade Vélodrome against Olympique de Marseille, on the first matchday, Folarin only took… 20 minutes to find the net! This would not prevent a defeat for SDR, but it was no matter — the scene was set.

He’s already scored at the Stade Louis-II 🏟

In Champagne, he would not do anything during the last season, when the teammates of Takumi Minamino, scorer of his first Monegasque goal that day, won 3-0. On the other hand, it was he who caused misery at the Stade Louis-II. Scorer dof the game’s only goal (0-1), he allowed the men of Will Still to return home with all three points.

He’s played for the United States… and England! 🇬🇧🇺🇸

Like Philipp Köhn,he hesitated for a long time between two countries. Born in Brooklyn to parents from Nigeria, Folarin Balogun arrived in London when he was just six months old. Having then done all his training in the British capital, he played for the Three Lions from the U-17s to U-21 (28 caps in total), having a very good run with the English U-21s (13 caps, 7 goals).

In the meantime, he had also played with the American U18s, with whom he totaled four appearances. He would finally choose the United States last summer. Obviously it paid off, since he has already won the Concacaf Nations League with the “Stars and Strips”, even scoring in the final against Canada and… Jonathan David.

A last name “Made in France” 🗣️

It’s quite anecdotal all told, but it will certainly be useful to his teammates. When he arrived at Stade de Reims, his former coach, Will Still, asked him what his nickname was and how he could be called quickly on the pitch. The latter replied instinctively: “I don’t really have a nickname, but you can call me Balo”. So, see you soon at the Stade Louis-II Balo’! 👋