Manchester City Winger Addresses His Future Amid Real Madrid Interest: Why Guardiola Needs To Keep Hold Of Him

Raheem Sterling of Manchester City scores his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Aston Villa at Etihad Stadium on October 26, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

In a recent interview with AS, Raheem Sterling revealed that he is open to making a future move to Real Madrid but is currently happy with life at Manchester City. When asked about whether he would be open to joining Real Madrid someday amid speculation surrounding the La Liga outfit’s interest in his services (via AS), the England international responded, “(Laughs) It’s one of those things… Right now I’m at City and I’m really happy.

“But I say Real Madrid are a fantastic club, when you see the white shirt you know exactly what the club stands for, it’s massive.

“But at the same time, I have a contract with City now and I have to respect this. But it’s a fantastic club.”

Sterling’s Incredible Career At Man City Thus Far

Sterling, whose current contract with the Citizens expires in the summer of 2023, has enjoyed a decent first half to this Premier League campaign. Still, he has struggled to be productive in the final third in recent games. With two crucial UEFA Champions League matches against Real Madrid looming on the horizon, the Man City fans would hope that Sterling can recover in time from his thigh injury so that he can help his side reach the quarter-finals of the competition.

The 25-year-old has not scored in his past five appearances in the Premier League before getting injured versus Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month. Despite his recent struggles, Sterling has managed to maintain a prolific goal-scoring record across all competitions. He has scored 20 goals in 35 matches for the Citizens this term on all fronts.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JANUARY 29: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City runs with the ball during the Carabao Cup Semi-Final match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on January 29, 2020, in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Furthermore, the English wide player has also earned six assists during this campaign which goes to highlight his creative potential. The ex-Liverpool talent has taken his game to another level under Pep Guardiola’s stewardship over the past few years. He has also become a serial winner at the Etihad Stadium and has two Premier League titles and an FA Cup trophy to show for his efforts.

What Does The English Playmaker Add To Guardiola’s Side?

Sterling is probably the quickest player in the Man City squad and has averaged 3.0 shots, 1.5 key passes and 1.9 dribbles per game in the English top-flight this season (stats via whoscored). He is not afraid to get a few shots in on goal and is almost averaging two dribbles in every 90 minutes of league football. It is no wonder he is pulling off such high numbers considering how much he has grown as a player in recent years.

The Kingston-born wide player can turn on the afterburners to beat his marker out on the flanks and has the vision to pick out a defence-splitting pass in the attacking third of the pitch. He is also a regular goal-scorer for the Citizens and has shared most of the offensive workload with Sergio Aguero and Riyad Mahrez this season.

Why The Citizens Cannot Sanction Sterling’s Departure Just Yet

With Man City potentially banned from all UEFA competitions for the next two years, it won’t be a surprise if some of their first-team players want to leave in the summer. However, Guardiola is prepared to see out his contract even if the club’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport doesn’t work out (via Sky Sports).

Hence, the Spanish head coach should try and convince his star players to stay put for now and only make a decision on their long-term future when CAS has reached a verdict. There is a chance that the Citizens could end up getting their ban reduced or even removed if they can provide substantial evidence to prove their innocence.

The English champions cannot afford to lose a player of Sterling’s qualities if they intend to beat Liverpool in the Premier League title race next term. They are currently 22 points behind the Reds in the league table, so Guardiola should demand a comeback season for the ages from his players in the upcoming campaign. The absence of European football could also boost their chances of success in domestic competitions but only if they can keep their best players like Sterling at the Etihad.

A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.