Alex Song

Alex Song

Song playing for Rubin in 2016
Personal information
Full name Alexandre Dimitri Song Billong[1]
Date of birth (1987-09-09) 9 September 1987[2]
Place of birth Douala, Cameroon
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)[3]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Rubin Kazan[4]
Number 8
Youth career
2001–2004 Bastia
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2006 Bastia 32 (0)
2005–2006Arsenal (loan) 5 (0)
2006–2012 Arsenal 138 (7)
2007Charlton Athletic (loan) 12 (0)
2012–2016 Barcelona 39 (1)
2014–2015West Ham United (loan) 28 (0)
2015–2016West Ham United (loan) 12 (0)
2016– Rubin Kazan 9 (0)
National team
2002–2003 France U16 6 (0)
2003–2004 Cameroon U17 3 (0)
2008 Cameroon U23 3 (0)
2005–2014 Cameroon 49 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 5 November 2016.

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12:58, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

Alexandre Dimitri Song Billong (born 9 September 1987), better known as Alex Song, is a Cameroonian professional footballer who plays for FC Rubin Kazan. He plays as a central or defensive midfielder, and can also play as a central defender.

Originally a utility player on the fringes of the first team, Song quickly became an integral part of Arsenal's starting eleven during the preseason to the 2008–09 campaign, resulting in a €15 million transfer to FC Barcelona in 2012.

He played for Cameroon in the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.[5][6] He was called up for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations and was the only Cameroonian named in the Team of the Tournament. Song also possesses a French passport.[2] He is the nephew of former footballer Rigobert Song.[7]


Song was born in Douala, Cameroon and lost his father at the age of three. Since then, his cousin Rigobert Song has been like a second father and was a major influence in choosing football as a career. Unable to find a club or academy where he could hone his skills, Petit Song, as he is known in the Cameroon side, opted to move to France, joining SC Bastia at the age of 16.[5] One of the players who inspired Song the most when he was young was Michael Essien.[8]

In 2011, Song became an ambassador for Grassroot Soccer, an international non-profit organisation working through football to stop the spread of HIV.[9]

Club career


Song joined the Bastia youth team in 2003–04 and became a part of the first team the following season with 31 appearances. Bastia were playing in Ligue 1 during the time Alex Song had a stint there. Song was noted for his high versatility[10]

While playing for Bastia, he was selected as a part of France U16 football team. He later chose to represent Cameroon his country of birth. He played as a centre back but later made several appearances as a defensive midfielder. He was highly regarded in this position by numerous coaches and supporters of Bastia. During his time at Bastia, he attracted attention from numerous clubs, including Inter, Juventus, Manchester United, Lyon, and Middlesbrough.[11] Unwilling to sell their prized asset, Bastia agreed to loan him to the Gunners for one season only in 2005.[5] Despite being linked heavily with Lyon, he was sold to Arsenal for £1,000,000.[11][12] During his time at Bastia, Song made a total of 32 league appearances.


Song impressed Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger as a trialist during Arsenal's pre-season training camp in Austria, and Arsenal secured his services on loan for the 2005–06 season on 11 August 2005.[13] Arsenal agreed to a £1 million fee[14] in June 2006 and signed him to a four-year contract. Song made his Premiership debut during Arsenal's 2–0 win against Everton on 19 September 2005 as a substitute.[15] He played in several UEFA Champions League matches and made several Premiership starts near the end of the season, when first team players were injured or being rested.

He scored his first goal for Arsenal against Liverpool in Arsenal's 6–3 win at Anfield in the League Cup on 9 January 2007.[16]

On 30 January 2007, it was confirmed that Charlton Athletic had signed Song on loan until the end of the 2006–07 season.[17] Although he impressed, Charlton were relegated and Song returned to Arsenal.

Over the 2007–08 season, Song started at centre back for Arsenal's Carling Cup matches, but missed their semi-final elimination by Tottenham while away with Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations. He also started at centre back in Premier League ties towards the end of the season, most notably in Arsenal's crucial visit to Old Trafford against Manchester United, while regular starter Kolo Touré filled in for Bacary Sagna at right back.

Song playing for Arsenal

2008–09 season

The 2008–09 was Song's breakthrough season. The then 21-year-old established himself as a key member of Arsène Wenger’s squad, making 48 appearances in all competitions. He enjoyed his most productive and eye-catching campaign yet as he emerged as a genuine midfield enforcer – the perfect foil for Cesc Fàbregas in the Arsenal engine room. Wenger said: "I brought him here aged 17 and worked very hard with him, we worked hard because I felt he had the talent to become a good player. I know that the opinions are changing about him now."

On 21 October 2008, Song scored his first goal in European competition for Arsenal against Fenerbahçe in the Champions League.[18] Song's first league goal, and third in all competitions for the Gunners, was scored against Wigan Athletic on 11 April 2009 in which he took on several players and then coolly finished in the bottom corner. Arsenal won the match 4–1.[19]

2009–10 season

Song began the season well, playing in all but one of Arsenal's first 12 league games. He was voted third in the player of the month award for October, behind winner Cesc Fàbregas and runner-up Robin van Persie. After putting in consistently commanding performances at the heart of midfield, allowing Arsenal's creative attackers to operate effectively, Song established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet. On 25 November 2009, Song signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal, lasting until 2014. On 30 December 2009, he scored his second goal in the league for Arsenal when he completed the scoring in a 4–1 win over Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

2010–11 season

Song in action in 2012.

Song continued to be one of the first names on the team sheet, as he made a superb start to the 2010–11 season, establishing himself in front of the back four. He scored the 1000th Arsenal Premier League goal under Arsène Wenger in a 4–1 win against Bolton Wanderers on 11 September 2010. On the downside, the following game he was sent off for two bookable offences. The strong midfielder has become a more adventurous element in the Arsenal midfield, helping the forward line with his movement. On 28 August 2010, Song completed the full 90 minutes in the game against Blackburn Rovers in a 2–1 win at Ewood Park. On 19 October 2010, he scored the first goal of the match for Arsenal against the Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in a 5–1 win for Arsenal. On 24 October 2010, Song scored his third goal of the season, the second goal at Eastlands against Manchester City in a 3–0 Arsenal victory. On 30 October 2010, he scored a vital 88th minute diving header for Arsenal from a cross by Gaël Clichy at the Emirates Stadium against West Ham United in the league, leading to an important 1–0 victory for Arsenal.[20] In February 2012, Song had his car impounded by Hertfordshire Police after he was caught speeding and failed to provide relevant documentation.[21] On 27 December 2010, Song scored the first goal in a 3–1 victory over Chelsea at the Emirates.[22] During the 2010–11 season, he made 42 appearances in total, scored five goals and contributed three assists in all competitions for the Gunners.[23]

2011–12 season

With the departure of Cesc Fàbregas to Barcelona, Song was now assigned to provide the assists for the club alongside Aaron Ramsey. During a league match at Newcastle United, Song stamped on Joey Barton, and this resulted in him being charged with improper conduct and given a three-match ban.[24] On 24 September 2011, Song scored his first goal of the season in a 3–0 home victory against Bolton Wanderers. He provided an assist to Robin van Persie following a dribble for the first goal in a UEFA Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund on 23 November to secure a place for Arsenal in the last 16. Wenger said in November:

"I thought about that Fulham game recently, It shows that players need to be given time and confidence. Unfortunately at the big clubs you cannot always do it. He is one of the players who surprised everybody. You wouldn't expect what he delivers at the moment."[25]

Song again assisted van Persie who scored a volley, during a match against Everton which also proved to be the only goal as the 125th anniversary game ended 1–0 to Arsenal. Song also showed his assisting skills in the following matches: in an FA Cup match against Leeds United, Song played a through ball past four Leeds players to the returning legend, Thierry Henry. The game ended 1–0, sending Arsenal into the fourth round of the FA Cup. He then provided two assists in back to back matches against Tottenham Hotspur at home for Theo Walcott and also the winning goal for van Persie against Liverpool at Anfield with a delightful long-ball in the dying minutes of the match. The matches ended in 5–2 and 2–1 victories respectively, highlighting the importance of Song's presence in the team not only as an anchorman in the middle but as a playmaking midfielder. Song played an overhead pass to Theo Walcott and claimed an assist against Aston Villa on 24 March 2012. Arsenal went on to win the game 3–0. His partnership with striker Robin van Persie was enhanced in a match on 5 May 2012 as he performed his seemingly trademark chip to assist the Dutchman in netting the equaliser against Norwich City. The game ended 3–3 and it was his 12th assist of the season. He was voted in second place as the Arsenal player of the season by the fans.[26]


On 20 August 2012, Song signed a five-year contract with FC Barcelona for a fee of £15 million.[27] He made his Barcelona debut against Real Madrid in the 2012 Supercopa de España on 29 August 2012 as a substitute for the last 15 minutes, finishing the match with a perfect passing statistic.[28] He played 20 matches in Barcelona's La Liga-winning campaign in his first season, and scored one goal, in a 3–1 home win against Real Zaragoza on 17 November 2012.[29]

Song was an unused substitute in the 2014 Copa del Rey Final, which Barcelona lost 2–1 to Real Madrid at Mestalla.[30]

In August 2014, Song was subject to transfer speculation linking him with a season long loan deal to Liverpool.[31]

West Ham United on loan

On 30 August 2014, Song joined English club West Ham United on a season long loan.[32] He was unveiled to the fans on the same day before their home game against Southampton.[33] Song made his debut against Hull City as a second-half substitute on 15 September 2014 in a 2–2 draw.[34] He played 31 games for West Ham including three in the FA Cup.[35] Praised for his early season form, his performances deteriorated towards the end of the season as West Ham's form also slumped.[36][37] In August 2015, West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan, announced an agreement with Barcelona to sign Song on a three-year permanent contract subject to a medical.[38] His season-long loan to West Ham was confirmed on 1 September with West Ham having the option to extend the loan for a further season.[39]

Rubin Kazan

On 21 July 2016, Rubin Kazan reached an agreement to sign Alex Song from Barcelona, subject to a medical.[40] On 1 August 2016, Song officially joined the Russian side on a free transfer after his contract with Barcelona has been terminated.[41][42]

International career

Song playing against Morocco in 2009

Song was first capped by Cameroon in 2005.[43] He was named in the Cameroon squad for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations. He played for Cameroon in their first group match, a 4–2 defeat against holders Egypt; he replaced Stéphane Mbia at half time, joining his cousin Rigobert on the pitch. For the duration of the tournament he was a revelation in defence for Cameroon, earning a Man of the Match award in Cameroon's semi-final, but then going off injured in the final against Egypt. He was nonetheless named in the Tournament Best XI, alongside compatriot Geremi.

Song was called up for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations and was the only Cameroonian named in the Team of the Tournament.[44]

Song was included in the Cameroonian squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He did not appear in his side's opening loss to Japan,[45] but played the full 90 in Cameroon's disappointing 2–1 loss to Denmark.[46] The result ensured that Les Lions Indomptables were the first country eliminated from the World Cup.[47] He was an unused substitute in Cameroon's final group stage match against the Netherlands, a 2–1 loss, but his cousin Rigobert made his final national team appearance in the match.[48]

Song participated in his second FIFA World Cup at the 2014 tournament in Brazil.[49] In the team's second group match, Song was sent off for violent conduct after striking Mario Mandžukić as Cameroon were knocked out, losing 4–0 to Croatia.[50][51] Song later apologized to Mandžukić, and to the people of Cameroon for being sent off.[52] FIFA punished Song with a three-match ban from competitive internationals, as well as fining him US$22,300.[53] The match is being investigated for possible match-fixing after allegations in a German newspaper.[54] In December 2014, despite being in-form for his club West Ham United, he was omitted by Cameroon coach Volker Finke from the squad for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.[55]

On 6 January 2015, Song announced his international retirement, aged 27 and earning 49 caps, citing his wish to focus on rebuilding his domestic career with West Ham United.[56][57]

Style of play

He has been described by former Cameroon coach Javier Clemente as a "much better player in attack than he is defensively."[58]

Career statistics

As of 24 March 2016[59]
League Club Season League Cup* Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Ligue 1 Bastia 2004–05 32030350
France Total 32030350
Premier League Arsenal (loan) 2005–06 50202090
Arsenal 2006–07 20311061
Charlton Athletic (loan) 2006–07 12000120
Arsenal 2007–08 903030150
2008–09 31160111482
2009–10 26120100381
2010–11 3146051425
2011–12 3413090461
England Total 160725142222710
La Liga Barcelona 2012–13 2016080341
2013–14 1908040310
Spain Total 391140120651
Premier League West Ham United (loan) 2014–15 2803000310
2015–16 1203000150
England Total 4006000460
Career total 270848154237311

(* FA Cup, League Cup and FA Community Shield)


National team Year Apps Goals
Cameroon[43] 2005 1 0
2008 11 0
2009 3 0
2010 9 0
2011 5 0
2012 7 0
2013 6 0
2014 7 0
Total 49 0








  1. "Statistics" (PDF). Laliga League. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  2. 1 2 "campa2sAlexandre Song Billong) – Charlton Athletic and Cameroon". FootballDatabase. Archived from the original on 2007-07-07. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  3. "Premier League Player Profile Alexandre Song". Premier League. Barclays Premier League. 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  4. "Alex Song hopes to make 'a great impact' during Rubin Kazan loan - BBC Sport". BBC Online. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 2010 FIFA World Cup™ – Alexandre SONG Archived 11 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. FIFA.
  6. "Alex Song Bio, Stats, News – Football / Soccer  – ESPNFC". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  7. Barlow, Matt (17 April 2009). "Arsenal star Song so happy to sing the praises of family values". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  8. "Song: Essien inspired me to succeed 13 January 2011 – 10:46". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  9. "Grassroot Soccer". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  10. "Liberation of Alex Song". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  11. 1 2 "Wenger moves for Song". Sky Sports. Retrieved 10 August 2006.
  12. "Alexandre Song —". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  13. "Arsenal take Song on season loan". BBC Sport. 11 August 2005. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  14. Fifield, Dominic (9 December 2006). "Academies are not working and need big change, says Benítez". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  15. "Arsenal 2–0 Everton". BBC News. 19 September 2005.
  16. Lyon, Sam (9 January 2007). "Liverpool 3–6 Arsenal". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
  17. "Arsenal's Song in Charlton move". BBC Sport. 30 January 2007.
  18. Ornstein, David (21 October 2008). "Fenerbahce 2–5 Arsenal". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
  19. Ashenden, Mark (11 April 2009). "Wigan 1–4 Arsenal". BBC Sport. Retrieved 17 August 2009.
  20. Ornstein, David (30 September 2010). "Arsenal 1–0 West Ham". London: BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 1 November 2010. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  21. "Police seize speeding Arsenal footballer Alex Song's car". London: BBC News. 23 February 2011. Archived from the original on 24 February 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  22. McNulty, Phil (27 December 2010). "Arsenal 3–1 Chelsea". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 26 December 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  23. "Alex Song". YouTube. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013.
  24. "Arsenal's Alex Song accepts three-match ban for violent conduct". The Telegraph. 17 August 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  25. "Player of the Season – in second place...". 31 May 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  26. "Player of the Season – in second place...". 31 May 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  27. "Alexandre Song signs his new contract with FC Barcelona". FC Barcelona. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  28. "Error-free start for Alex Song.". FC Barcelona. 30 August 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  29. Sinanan, Keeghann (17 November 2012). "Barcelona 3–1 Zaragoza: Magical Messi maintains Blaugrana's brilliant start". Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  30. "Barcelona 1–2 Real Madrid". BBC Sport. 16 April 2014.
  31. "Liverpool On Course To Sign Former Arsenal Midfielder On Season-Long Loan". Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  32. "Alex Song joins West Ham United on loan from Barcelona". BBC Sport. 30 August 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  33. "West Ham sign Alex Song on season-long loan from Barcelona — Football —". the Guardian. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  34. Neil Johnston. "BBC Sport — Hull City 2–2 West Ham United". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  35. "Games played by Alex Song 2014-15". Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  36. "Premier League: Wenger heaps praise on Song". Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  37. "West Ham struggle against Crystal Palace as Alex Song form dips". Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  38. "Alex Song: West Ham agree deal to sign Barcelona midfielder". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  39. "Alex Song: Barcelona midfielder joins West Ham on loan". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  40. "Rubin Kazan set to sign Alex Song from Barcelona". ESPN FC. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  41. "Alex Song: Rubin Kazan sign Barcelona's former Cameroon midfielder". BBC Sport. 1 August 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  42. "FC Barcelona and Alex Song agree to terminate contract". FC Barcelona. 1 August 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  43. 1 2 "Alex Song". National Football Teams. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  44. "CAF Releases top 11 of Orange CAN – 2010 – CAF". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  45. Japan 1:0 (1:0) Cameroon – The matches of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Archived 26 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. FIFA.
  46. Cameroon 1:2 (1:1) Denmark – The matches of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Archived 20 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. FIFA.
  47. "Cameroon 1–2 Denmark". BBC News. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  48. Cameroon 1:2 (0:1) Netherlands – The matches of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Archived 3 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. FIFA.
  49. "Cameroon World Cup 2014 squad". The Telegraph. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  50. "Cameroon 0–4 Croatia". BBC. 19 June 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  51. Brooks Peck (18 June 2014). "Alex Song elbows Mario Mandzukic in the back for some reason, gets sent off". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  52. "Assou-Ekotto head-butt stuns Finke". ESPN. 19 June 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  53. "World Cup 2014: Cameroon's Alex Song given three-match ban". BBC Sport. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  54. "BBC Sport — World Cup 2014: Cameroon investigates match-fixing claims". BBC Sport. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  55. "Cameroon drop Song". Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  56. "Cameroon's Alex Song announces international retirement". ESPN. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  57. "'I want to focus on rebuilding my domestic career at West Ham' – Alex Song announces international retirement". London Evening Standard. 7 January 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  58. "Song is unlike any other player, says Clemente". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  59. "Alex Song". Retrieved 21 December 2015.

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