EPL

Sterling striving for longevity to match Messi and Ronaldo

By Sports Desk September 11, 2019

Raheem Sterling acknowledges he cannot be compared to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo until he has performed at the highest level for a number of seasons, but that is his aim.

The Manchester City forward was in irrepressible form in England's 5-3 win against Kosovo on Tuesday, scoring an early equaliser and then laying on three assists in a stunning first-half display.

Sterling's performance continued an outstanding start to the new season, with eight goals to his name for club and country already.

The 24-year-old scored 35 times in the Premier League across the previous two campaigns, but he concedes he is still some way short of the standard set by all-time greats Messi and Ronaldo.

"The most remarkable thing about these players is not that they've been doing it for two or three seasons," said Sterling. "They've been doing it for pretty much their whole career, season after season.

"This is my third season at a high level, I would say, and I just have to keep continuing. I have full belief in myself.

"I have goals and they've been goals of mine since I was a child, and I'll keep thriving and keep learning and try to get all the way to the top, for sure."

Sterling had scored just twice for his country prior to visiting Spain last October but doubled his international tally with a brace in that away win and now has 10 goals in England colours.

"When I first put on the England shirt, I wasn't looking at my stats too much," he said. "It wasn't until I saw how bad they were I put extra pressure on myself to score.

"But I said to myself that once my first goal goes in, I know that the goals will come after that. That's all I was waiting for.

"That night in Spain when I scored two, from then I knew I'd kick on and keep scoring goals."

Related items

  • Arsenal boss Emery was there when Watford sacked Gracia Arsenal boss Emery was there when Watford sacked Gracia

    Arsenal boss Unai Emery has revealed how a chance encounter with Javi Gracia in Spain coincided with his former team-mate's dismissal from Watford.

    Gracia lost his job following a run of one draw and three defeats to start the Premier League season.

    The ex-Osasuna, Malaga and Rubin Kazan head coach had travelled to his homeland during the international break and bumped into Emery in the Basque region.

    The pair were discussing the forthcoming fixture between their teams when news of Watford's decision came through.

    "It's amazing," Emery said. "I met him, we found each other last week in my town, in Hondarribia, when I was there with my family.

    "I was walking and in front of us was Javi Gracia.

    "And in the moment we started speaking about our match, and we finished it knowing he was sacked. It's a good story, yes?"

    Gracia and Emery shared the Real Sociedad dressing room as players in the mid-1990s and their relationship played a part in the latter's appointment at Arsenal in 2018.

    "When the possibility opened up to sign here, the first coach, the first person in the football world I called was him," Emery said.

    "I asked him some questions about the football here, the clubs, Arsenal and he recommended to me that I come here."

    Emery added: "He is a very good coach, as he showed last year in Watford. The club decided [to part company with him] and I have to respect that.

    "He is going to work and he is going to continue his career like he is, like a great coach."

    Watford, FA Cup finalists last season, immediately turned to Quique Sanchez Flores to fill the post.

    Flores coached the club during the 2015-16 season and commences his second stint in charge at home to Arsenal on Sunday.

  • Rumour Has It: Inter Miami meet with Messi's dad Rumour Has It: Inter Miami meet with Messi's dad

    Inter Miami are continuing their stunning bid to sign Lionel Messi.

    Messi, 32, can reportedly leave Barcelona at the end of any season for a club outside of Europe despite being contracted at the LaLiga champions until 2021.

    Linked with a shock switch to David Beckham's MLS outfit Inter Miami, the club are continuing to make moves for the Argentina superstar.

     

    TOP STORY – INTER MIAMI REPRESENTATIVE MEETS MESSI'S DAD

    Beckham sent Inter Miami sporting director Paul McDonough to London for talks with Messi's dad Jorge, according to The Sun.

    Inter Miami are set to enter MLS in 2020 and are looking for a big-name signing, with Messi undoubtedly the biggest of the names linked.

    It comes just days after Messi said in an interview with Sport that he wanted to remain at Camp Nou for "as long as possible".

    ROUND-UP

    - Real Madrid could chase Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba again in January. Sport Bild reports Real Madrid are planning to use Toni Kroos in an exchange deal to land the France international, who was heavily linked with a switch during the close season.

    - Sadio Mane re-signed with Liverpool until 2023 less than 12 months ago, but the European champions are already looking for the attacker to recommit. Liverpool have opened talks with Mane for an extension, according to Soccer Link.

    - Seemingly unwanted at Juventus, Mario Mandzukic's future remains a talking point. Qatari club Al-Gharafa have offered €6million net per year to the striker and can meet Juve's demands, according to CalcioMercato, which reports Los Angeles FC are also interested in the Croatian despite the MLS transfer window not reopening until February.

    - Inter are already looking to lock down a couple of stars. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A giants want to extend the contracts of goalkeeper Samir Handanovic – until 2022 – and forward Lautaro Martinez until 2024. The report says Inter would also double Martinez's salary from €1.5m to €3m per season amid interest from Barcelona.

    - Sam Allardyce is ready for a return to management. The Sun reports the former England boss, who left Everton in May last year, is eyeing a return to Sunderland if the reported takeover by an American consortium is completed.

  • Farke to celebrate Norwich win with 'a coffee and a piece of cake' - but only after training Farke to celebrate Norwich win with 'a coffee and a piece of cake' - but only after training

    Daniel Farke will celebrate Norwich City's surprise victory over Premier League champions Manchester City with "a coffee and a piece of cake" after training on Sunday.

    Norwich produced a brilliant display to see off City 3-2 at Carrow Road on Saturday and claim their second win of a vibrant start to the 2019-20 season that has included some good moments in defeats to Liverpool, Chelsea and West Ham.

    Kenny McLean and Todd Cantwell put the Canaries two goals ahead, before Sergio Aguero reduced the arrears on the stroke of half-time.

    Teemu Pukki restored Norwich's advantage after Emiliano Buendia caught Nicolas Otamendi napping, with Rodri's late effort proving solely a consolation for Pep Guardiola's side.

    Asked how he would celebrate the famous victory, Farke said: "To be honest, it was a really complicated week and I'm happy when I'm back on my sofa this evening because I'm too old and too exhausted to celebrate.

    "We have training Sunday morning and we have to analyse the game so for that I have to watch the game back.

    "So it will be a pretty late night for me to be prepared, but hopefully on Sunday afternoon on the sofa I can have a coffee and a piece of cake, I will celebrate with this.

    "All our supporters are definitely allowed to celebrate and enjoy this day because if you don't value these moments you lose your motivation, but we will definitely stay calm."

    Norwich were without seven players due to injury and Farke felt that provided additional sweetness to an unexpected success, though he always sets his team out to "reach something excellent".

    "It is definitely a proud night, without any doubt," he said. "To win against the best team in the world, with world-class players, a world-class coach, a top club, as Norwich City, as a newly promoted side who has no chance to spend an unbelievable amount of money in the summer in a situation with an unbelievable amount of injured players, it's really special.

    "I always believe in my players. We know we were not the favourites and everything has to come together. But we play football to reach something excellent, not just realistic things.

    "We have had several good games but the outcome in terms of points was not perfect because we played some really decent sides and so you struggle with self-confidence.

    "It was important to give them back the belief and some self-confidence - but it seems like we found the right words and decisions.

    "Against such quality you have to play slightly different because you can't control possession against Manchester City. We had to try and allow Manchester City possession in certain areas and with certain players.

    "It was complicated to prepare this game, but my lads fulfilled everything we tried to work on in the last few days in a perfect way."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.