Leon Bailey's stunning performances with Bayer Leverkusen have put him and Jamaica on the global football map in the same way his friend, Usain Bolt, took the island to the top of athletics. He is also good mates with Manchester City's Raheem Sterling, but don't mention Bailey to Bundesliga defenders...

bundesliga.com looks at the scenic and colourful life journey that took the Kingston-born boy from the shores of the Caribbean to the banks of the Rhine through ten facts about one of the Bundesliga's hottest properties.

1) The new Arjen Robben?

Left-footed, frighteningly quick, bedazzling with the ball at his feet, and a liking for cutting in from the wing to devastating effect. Sound familiar? Bayern Munich fans will see Arjen Robben in that description.

Watch: Is Leon Bailey the new Arjen Robben?

Leverkusen supporters — and soon maybe many more German football watchers — will have images of Bailey hurtling at breakneck speed through their minds. The Jamaican has marked himself out as 'one to watch' in his first full Bundesliga season, outdoing his Bayern counterpart in output and upstaging him in terms of the spectacular.

Robben has already written his name into Bundesliga legend, and Bailey has all the tools to join him in the pantheon of greats.

2) International man of mystery

Which lucky country will get the thumbs up from Bailey to play for them at international level? © imago

For all his brilliance with Bayer, Bailey has yet to play at senior international level, and his sizzling form has sparked a race between nations to be the first to convince him he should pull on their shirt.

With the World Cup approaching and England reportedly exploring the possibility he could be eligible to play for them in Russia, Bailey is keeping his options open. "It's been like that for years, but my opinion hasn't changed and people have to accept that. Which country I play for is still open."

There is - of course - still a good chance he will join the Reggae Boyz of Jamaica. "The Jamaican FA has wanted me to play for them since I was 11 or 12," Bailey explained. The Leverkusen man has already represented the Caribbean island at Under-23 level, scoring a free-kick against the Cayman Islands in March 2015.

3) Tidy player, Messi man

Exceptional and devastating with the ball at his feet like his boyhood idol Lionel Messi, Bailey's scorching pace is eerily similar to that of his namesake, Donovan, Canada's Jamaican-born former 100m world record holder and Olympic champion sprinter.

Bailey, though, has an even faster friend: Usain Bolt. "I've never run with him," Bailey said of his fellow Jamaican who currently owns the 100m world record. "I never want to run with him!" Many Bundesliga defenders feel the same about you, Leon.

4) The reggae boyz

Jamaica is better known for its athletes like Bolt, its musicians like Bob Marley and its cricketers such as Michael 'Whispering Death' Holding, but it has also produced its fair share of quality footballers.

England internationals John Barnes and Sterling were both born there, while though born in England, Leicester City's English Premier League-winning captain, Wes Morgan, has Jamaican blood in his veins as have a number of illustrious players who have mostly featured for England at international level.

Born in Germany, Karlsruhe's Daniel Gordon played eight Bundesliga games for Borussia Dortmund between 2006 and 2009, while his fellow Jamaica international, English-born Michael Hector, scored once in 22 top-flight appearances in Germany with Eintracht Frankfurt during the 2016/17 season.

5) The Butler did it!

Born 9 August, 1997, in Kingston, Jamaica, Bailey shares a birthday with coaching greats Otto Rehhagel, Mario Zagallo and Roy Hodgson. Perhaps Bailey will shine in the dug-out in the future, but it is with another Leo born on the same date, Chelsea star Willian, he shares the most attributes for now.

Watch: Bailey teaches Hoffenheim a lesson they will not forget in a hurry!

One of 20 youngsters adopted by Craig Butler, Bailey's talent quickly became apparent at his dad's Phoenix All-Star Academy. Butler, Bailey, and another of Butler's sons, Kyle, all went to Europe with the boys barely in their teens to pursue the dream of kicking a ball for a living.

"We came to Europe with one jacket, no experience of winter," described Bailey, who was just 12 when the trio arrived in Austria. "We didn't have so much money, so sometimes we just had tuna on bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner just to get through the day."

6) First stop: Slovakia!

Bailey entered the youth ranks of Austrian team Liefering, a club with close ties to Red Bull Salzburg, in 2011, and after attempts to broker deals with Genk in Belgium and Ajax in the Netherlands fell through due to Bailey's age — FIFA rules forbid clubs to sign non-EU players under 18 — he eventually joined Slovak outfit Trencin in autumn 2014.

"I like Trencin because they push you, because they know what you're capable of. I know in a few years, I'm going to be a really good player," a 17-year-old Bailey said shortly after joining Trencin, who also signed Kyle Butler at the same time.

Bailey's talent means he has stood out from the crowd since his days with Trencin in Slovakia. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Bailey was unable to make a contribution on the pitch as Trencin won the Slovak title that season, but he did make an impression on the training ground of the club where former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel started his professional career.

"He has the advantage of being a versatile player, and in just a few days he has convinced me that he will benefit our team," said then-Trencin boss Martin Sevela of Bailey. "If he left, we would certainly miss him."

7) Chip off the old block

"My dad said, you look like Alvin and the Chipmunks so everyone called me 'Alvin', then 'Chipmunk', then just 'Chippy'," Bailey told Deutsche Welle when asked about the origins of his nickname. "When someone calls me that they've been close to me all my life, and know a lot about me."

8) Going, going, Genk

Bailey excelled at Genk, following in the footsteps of Kevin De Bruyne. © gettyimages / Kristof van Accom

Genk had clearly not forgotten Bailey. The club where Kevin De Bruyne took his first steps in the professional game know talent when they see it, and snapped up Bailey when he turned 18 in summer 2015.

Just 12 short days after blowing out the candles on his birthday cake, he made his first-team debut at the start of a season that would lead to him being named Belgium's Young Player of the Year, an award previously scooped by the likes of Vincent Kompany, Axel Witsel and Youri Tielemans.

"What I do is learn from others, and make myself better," Bailey said when picking up his prize. "A wise man learns from his mistakes, but a wiser man learns from the mistakes of others."

9) School of hard knocks

As keen a student of the game as Bailey has proven, the basic, natural talent he possesses can be traced back to his origins, the Leverkusen man himself believes. "We eat a lot of food from the ground, that makes us strong and fast," Bailey explained.

Allied to the gifts Mother Nature gave him, testing his skills in the rough and tumble of street football in Kingston's Cassava Piece neighbourhood made his switch to Europe so much easier.

Bailey has been a huge hit in his first full season in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

"When I look back it wasn't easy, it was difficult times. I experienced a lot of things there that made me stronger in life," he explained. "They didn't stop me playing with the bigger guys, because they could see I could handle it."

10) Bigger, better, Bayer

Those who nurtured Bailey's young talents were not the only ones. While Bailey was at Trencin, one of the Slovak club's directors, Igor Schlesinger, had said, "I don't know what he's worth now, but in the future, it will definitely be some millions." The exact answer would — for now — be €20 million, the widely reported fee Leverkusen paid Genk for the Jamaican wunderkind in January 2017.

Watch: A tactical look at Leverkusen's wing wizard

"He's got extraordinary pace, he's very skilful with the ball, and he will give further impetus to our attacking department," said Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Völler, a former World Cup winner who should know a good player when he sees one. "We are convinced that he will be a big gain for us." No-one will be arguing with you, Rudi, after seeing his performance against Hoffenheim.

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