A two-year ban on European football might prove extremely costly for Manchester City, and the first signs are already there. According to Miguel Delaney of The Independent, Raheem Sterling is likelier to join Real Madrid over Manchester United this upcoming summer. However, Manchester United will make a move for Sterling if City’s Champions League ban is upheld.
What could Sterling offer at Real Madrid?
The 25-year-old is known for his intelligence on the field, and that has made him such a constant threat throughout his career. Under Pep Guardiola, his game has massively improved, and he has shown excellent versatility. Mostly the Spanish manager has deployed him on the right side, but at times we have seen him ply his trade on the left side of the pitch. At certain other times, he has taken up the role of a false nine, playing in the centre and dropping back.
Right from his Liverpool days the English forward has displayed his affinity to beat the defenders with pace and acceleration. Mostly, he used to cut from outside and dribble past his marker. However, after getting a bit predictable, he developed the habit of cutting inside and taking a shot at the goal, thus increasing his output.
He has scored 59 goals for City in 155 league matches, displaying his importance in the side. The England international is one of the first names on the team-sheet, and that has been the scenario for the last five seasons at Man City.
Sterling also boasts excellent dribbling skills, making 1.8 dribbles on an average per game. As stated earlier, he has an excellent eye for goal taking three shots per game towards the opposition goal. However, as a winger, one would expect the Englishman to be adept at making crosses, which could undoubtedly improve as he is currently averaging 0.3 crosses per game. Overall, Raheem Sterling has proved enough mettle in him to secure a starting berth in the Real Madrid squad.
How will he cope up in Zidane’s team?
Last season Los Blancos roped in Eden Hazard from Chelsea for the left-wing slot. The ex-Liverpool man could be the ideal partner for the Belgian in the wings, and both of them could wreak havoc in the La Liga. While Hazard likes to keep the ball at his feet and dribble his way past the defenders in a slow build-up game, Sterling is the opposite of that. The French manager could be blessed with two different types of players at either wing, providing him with a tactical diversity.
Sterling is not known for his knack to drop back and help the team in his defence. This season he has made only 0.5 interceptions per game, but that should not be a botheration for Zidane since he would have Modric and Kroos at the centre of the pitch, as the duo would be entrusted with recovering possession of the ball from the opposition. Even if Perez fails to bring any new strikers this season, Luka Jovic could be complemented with the inclusion of Sterling in the side and Real could reap the benefits of their partnership.
Stats from Whoscored.
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