Wed | Jun 16, 2021

Bailey's brilliance

Published:Friday | January 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe
Bayer Leverkusen's Leon Bailey celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the German Bundesliga match between Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig in Leverkusen, Germany, on November18, 2017.
Bayer Leverkusen's Leon Bailey

Thirteen years ago, Leon Bailey made a move that would change his life forever.

While still a student in primary school, seven year-old Bailey, who resided in the nearby Cassava Piece community, decided to join Craig Butler and his Phoenix Academy group at a training session at the Constant Spring Playing Field.

It was a decision that would change his life forever.

Bailey is today regarded as one of the most exciting players in Europe, with consistently high levels of performances for his Bundesliga outfit, Bayer Leverkusen, after first turning heads in Belgium and in the Europa League with Genk.

So far this season, Bailey has contributed seven goals and five assists for Leverkusen in the Bundesliga and was voted as his club's best player for the first half of the season.

His performances have also attracted the interest of some of Europe's heavyweights with English Premier League clubs - particularly Chelsea - as well as teams in Spain and Italy said to be keen on securing the services of the 20-year-old Jamaican.

He may seem to be at the height of his powers at this point but as far as Butler is concerned, Bailey still has a lot more to offer, and is expecting his flag-bearer to develop into the world's best player in the coming years.

"Leon is about 50 per cent of where his potential is. We built him to be a machine," said Butler.

"I see him in the next five years being the number-one player in the world - period. Above Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"What we have created is a new monster. A monster that cannot be tired, a monster that is faster than everyone else, a monster that has the skills of the Belgians and the movement of the Dutch and the natural pace and tenacity of our Jamaican people," added Butler.



Appearances: 16

Mins: 1150

Goals: 7

Assists: 5

Shots Per Game: 2.7

Key Passes Per Game: 2

Dribbles Per Game: 2.1

Average Pass: 24.1