Alexandre Dimitri Song Billong, more commonly known as Alex Song, is a Cameroonian professional footballer who plays for Arsenal of the Premier League.
He is the cousin of Rigobert Song. He plays as a defensive midfielder in front of the back four and has also played as a stand-in centre back and right back. Originally a utility player on the fringes of the first team, he quickly became an integral part of the first team during the preseason to the 2009–10 campaign; and has since started most games for which he has been available.
Song was born in Douala, Cameroon and lost his father at the age of three. Since then, his more famous cousin Rigobert Song has been like a second father and was a major influence in his cousin choosing football as a career.
Alex Song wanted to give his children a good upbringing in life, which he claims eluded him; he married at the age of 18 and is now father to two children, the eldest being two-year-old Nolan.
Song joined the Bastia youth team in 2003–04 and became a part of the first team the following season with 34 appearances. During his time at Bastia, he attracted attention from numerous clubs, including Inter, Juventus, Manchester United, Lyon, and Middlesbrough.
He 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. Arsenal agreed to a £1 million feel in June 2006 and signed him to a four-year contract.
Finally, Song made his Premiership debut during Arsenal's 2–0 win against Everton on 19 September 2005 as a substitute. 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. However,
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.
On 30 January 2007, it was confirmed that Charlton Athletic had signed Song on loan until the end of the 2006–07 season. 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.
He scored in Arsenal's 5–2 away win over Fenerbahce in the UEFA Champions League. Song's first league goal, and third in all competitions for the Gunners, was scored against Wigan Athletic on the 11th of April 2009 in which he took on several players and then coolly finished in the bottom corner. Arsenal won the match 4–1.
Song began the season well, playing in all but one of Arsenal's first 12 league games. He was voted third in the Arsenal.com 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, Alex Song is now one of the first names on the team sheet as well as developing into a world class defensive midfielder.
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.
Although uncapped at the time, Song was named in the Cameroon squad for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations. He made his international debut for Cameroon in their first group match, a 4–2 defeat against holders Egypt; he replaced Stephane Mbia at half time, joining his elder 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 Newcastle midfielder and compatriot Geremi.
Song was called-up for the 2010 African Cup of Nations and was the only Cameroonian named in the Team of the Tournament.