Raheem Sterling dreams of playing abroad and could be about to get his wish.

Real Madrid reportedly want to sign the Manchester City star after succeeding in their attempts to lure Eden Hazard from Chelsea.

To make the deal happen, the Spanish giants are ready to send Gareth Bale back to the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – SANTIAGO BERNABEU CALLING FOR STERLING

China continues to loom as the likeliest escape route for Gareth Bale, but Real Madrid might just have a different destination in mind.

According to Sky Sports, Madrid are preparing to offer the Wales winger plus £70million in a bid to prise Raheem Sterling from Manchester City.

Whether the Premier League champions have any interest in 30-year-old Bale is another matter, while the long-term contract extension Sterling signed last November gives them a strong bargaining position.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fresh speculation linking Kylian Mbappe to Zinedine Zidane's Madrid will prompt Paris Saint-Germain to offer the France forward an enticing new deal worth around €40million per season, Le Parisien reports. Mbappe has just over two years left on his current contract.

PSG are not just busy attempting to tie down their own players. De Telegraaf claims the Ligue 1 champions are one of three clubs expressing interest in Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana. Tottenham and Manchester United have also reportedly made contact with the 23-year-old's agent.

- Chelsea have identified several big-name January targets if their transfer ban is lifted at an appeal hearing later this month. Borussia Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho, Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and Lyon striker Moussa Dembele are the primary targets according to The Telegraph, which also lists Ben Chilwell and Nathan Ake among the names interesting Frank Lampard.

- Rade Krunic, one of AC Milan's better performers in the weekend loss to Lazio, will not be allowed to leave the club on loan, despite Bosnia and Herzegovina boss Robert Prosinecki advising him to seek more playing time. Calciomercato say the recent Rossoneri signing is part of Stefano Pioli's plans and will be staying put at San Siro.

Raheem Sterling's development into one of the Premier League's leading players is down to a change of lifestyle off the pitch and taking more responsibility on it, according to Manchester City team-mate Fernandinho.

Sterling, 24, joined City to much fanfare in 2015 after breaking into Liverpool's first-team as a teenager, his potential costing the Blues a reported £50million.

While he continued to show signs of his capability in the first two seasons at the club, Sterling also attracted criticism for his lack of composure in front of goal and erratic final pass.

But in 2017-18 he found another level, scoring 18 Premier League goals. He then went on to net 25 across all competitions the following campaign, helping City retain the league title.

He is on track to easily surpass that figure this term, having already scored 13 in 14 games on all fronts, and Fernandinho puts his success down to off-field maturity, having often been the subject of negative headlines as a youngster.

"I think this is maybe a case of us all being human beings," Fernandinho said ahead of Saturday's visit of Southampton. "Sometimes we fail in some actions, sometimes we make some mistakes, that's normal, especially when you are young.

"He's improved outside the pitch. He changed his style of life, style of living, it helps him a lot on the pitch. He's taken more responsibility on the pitch.

"He's a father too. You start to see the world in a different way and you start to see things changing [when you're a father]. I think he's done very well and, as I say, we are so happy for him.

"I think he is taking the chances we create as a team and that's good because the way we play as a team, we create a lot of chances in the box.

"The players know we're going to create chances, he understands it really well. He's improved a lot, the way he finishes, he scores goals and the way he grew up as a player and a person, he got more experience.

"That's good for him and I hope he can continue to grow up and improve more."

At 34, most players would be considering their future in professional football.

And while Fernandinho is not about to set an age target for his retirement, he is no rush to hang up his boots while his body remains able to meet the demands of top-flight football.

"To be honest, I just thank God for giving me a body that I can do this," he added. "Every three days, I have to be mentally ready and improve my body to be ready.

"Of course, I take care of myself, but we have great staff taking care of us behind the scenes which helps because first you have to get the mind ready and then the body and just go on.

"I always say I'll play until my mind will allow me to play. When I feel happy and motivated to play every day, this is important, to train happy and fresh every day.

"So, until I don't feel like this, I will play, but I don't want to say until 37, 38…40; we shall see."

Ilkay Gundogan believes there are "no limits" for Raheem Sterling and has hailed his Manchester City team-mate as one of the best five attackers in world football.

Sterling opened the scoring 20 seconds after half-time in City's 3-0 win over Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, having been the only home player to impress Pep Guardiola in the first period as the Premier League champions struggled.

The forward's latest goal was his seventh of the season in England's top flight and followed a midweek Champions League hat-trick against Atalanta.

"I think he made a big step forward," Gundogan, the scorer of City's third, said of his in-form team-mate. "The way he is now on matchdays, with his mentality, with his aggressivity, with and without the ball, it is crucial for us.

"We need these kind of players, game-changing players. At the moment, he is probably the one player that can change everything for us and we want to help him keep going like that, scoring and scoring.

"I feel at the moment, there are no limits for him. It's [on] us to help him to achieve all his targets and try to get out the best possible Raheem Sterling in the next few months.

"I think he is among the best five attackers in the world right now. It's all about consistency - he has shown in the last year and a half that he is able to be that consistent. If he continues like that, he can be on the top."

Gundogan became the latest City midfielder to fill in at the heart of defence, albeit briefly, after Fernandinho picked up a second yellow card with three minutes of normal time remaining.

The Germany international added: "I got a little feeling in the last few minutes of the game [playing as a centre-back]. I think I did well, but obviously it's a position that I don't really feel very comfortable with.

"But if it's necessary, if I'm needed in that position, I will play it. I don't mind.

"I want to help the team wherever I can, so if the manager decides to put me there one day, I will give my best and I will try to help the team as much as possible."

Pep Guardiola warned Manchester City they can forget about overhauling Premier League leaders Liverpool if they recreate their "relegation" performance in the 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

Guardiola's reigning champions trimmed the deficit to three points thanks to second-half goals from Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan at the Etihad Stadum on Saturday.

Liverpool can double their advantage by beating Tottenham at Anfield on Sunday, but Guardiola was more willing to dwell upon his team's showing before the break against Villa, which he felt had more in common with a battle to stay in the division than a title race.

"Six days ago we were eight points [behind], now we are three. But they have to play against Tottenham," he said.

"I am not concerned about the table. I am concerned about the way we played.

"If we play the level we played in the second half we can be there until the end of the season, I am sure of that.

"If we play the way we did in the first half, we will be in the relegation positions, far away from the leaders of the table. That is my view."

"The first half we played football but not in the way we should play."

Gabriel Jesus got the nod to start ahead of Sergio Aguero at centre-forward, the Brazil international alert to flick on Ederson's long clearance to set up City's opener.

Aguero replaced Sterling to end the game operating in tandem with Jesus and Guardiola insists it does not always have to be a case of either/or when it comes to his two strikers.

"Both players together, yeah they can play. It depends on the opponent, how they use their system," he said.

"Gabriel in the national team plays sometimes on the left. He is not a specific winger like Bernardo [Silva], Leroy [Sane] and Riyad [Mahrez] but he can play there when we need more players in the box.

"He has an incredible work ethic, he can help us with runs in behind and his movement is so good."

Pep Guardiola hailed Raheem Sterling's ability to cope with high expectations after the winger scored in the Premier League four days after hitting a Champions League hat-trick.

Sterling's treble in a 5-1 victory over Atalanta added weight to his billing as the top flight's most in-form forward and he lived up to the hype in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

After a goalless first half in which City survived a number of scares at the back, Sterling broke the deadlock early in the second half to settle the champions' nerves.

Sterling's strike paved the way for David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan to increase City's lead, and Guardiola was quick to point out the difficulty many players have in delivering when under pressure in the manner that Sterling did.

"We played good for 45 minutes, but not the other one," Guardiola told reporters. "Respect and credit to Aston Villa.

"We have to be aggressive with the ball. The only person in the first half who was aggressive was Sterling. In the second half it happened.

"When everybody talks in the media how good you are, usually the next game you play like 'how good am I?'. Sterling was the complete opposite.

"That is our strength as a team in the last years together. Every game, every three days, we go together."

Guardiola also reserved words of praise for Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish, whose dynamic performance caused City's defence problems in the first half at Etihad Stadium.

Grealish was expected to join Tottenham after Villa missed out on promotion to the Premier League in the 2017-18 Championship play-offs, but he stayed at the club and helped them reach the top flight a year later.

Guardiola expressed his admiration for Grealish's commitment, saying: "Grealish is an incredible player. He's a top player.

"I'm happy he's an Aston Villa player. I like that he stayed and defended his club (in the Championship).

"He's fast in the final [third] and always creates something."

Kevin De Bruyne reminded Premier League leaders Liverpool that there is a long season ahead after his goal in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa helped Manchester City narrow the gap at the top of the table to three points.

Raheem Sterling gave City the lead at Etihad Stadium before De Bruyne sent a curling ball into the Villa box and it drifted past goalkeeper Tom Heaton via an apparent glancing touch from David Silva.

Ilkay Gundogan added a third to put the game beyond Villa, who De Bruyne admitted caused City plenty of problems in a more evenly balanced first 45 minutes.

"In the first half we had some difficulty, a lack of intensity, and the rhythm was not really there," De Bruyne told BT Sport.

"Gabi [Gabriel Jesus] had a couple of chances to put us in front and the second half started really well with Ras' goal. After that, we had a good performance.

"In the first half they had couple of counter-attacks and we didn't cope really well. But it's going to happen, we played on Tuesday and they had the whole week [to prepare] so they're a little bit fresher but, in the end, we deserved to win."

The victory came three weeks after City suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves, handing Liverpool an advantage in the title race.

The Reds can restore a six-point gap over the champions by beating Tottenham on Sunday but De Bruyne is unperturbed by such an advantage.

"It's a long competition," said the Belgium international.

"We answered really well after the international break, won three in a row, so let's keep it going."

Even the sending-off of Fernandinho three minutes from time did not faze De Bruyne, who backed City's squad to cope with a list of defensive absentees that already includes Aymeric Laporte and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Asked about the prospect of Fernandinho's suspension, De Bruyne replied: "You guys say the same whatever is happening, whoever gets injured.

"It's part of the game. We have a lot of injuries, but we've been coping really well. It's not nice because you want everyone to be there, but it is what it is."

Raheem Sterling capped a fine week of goalscoring with the opener as Manchester City returned to winning ways in the Premier League at Etihad Stadium, beating Aston Villa 3-0.

The England forward scored a hat-trick in City's midweek thrashing of Atalanta and plundered his seventh league goal of the season to help City see off in-form Villa, who matched the champions for 45 minutes.

Villa boss Dean Smith, taking charge of his boyhood club for the 50th time, might have picked up a result had it not been for the swagger with which Sterling is playing this season and he made no mistake when put through at close range just 20 seconds after the restart.

Kevin De Bruyne curled in a contentious second after 65 minutes, the suspicion of offside dismissed following a lengthy VAR review, and an Ilkay Gundogan strike killed Villa off before Fernandinho blotted a fine performance with a second yellow card.

John Stones allowed John McGinn to force a good one-handed save from Ederson, but City began to dominate possession and David Silva squandered a golden chance when he side-footed narrowly wide on the cusp of half-time.

The second half was 20 seconds old when Ederson's long, high ball forward was knocked down by Gabriel Jesus to Sterling, who slid the ball through Heaton's legs from six yards out.

Tyrone Mings turned a Jesus effort over the crossbar with his knee moments later to keep Villa in the contest until De Bruyne's cross-cum-shot bounced within a whisker of David Silva and Sterling, who was offside when the ball was kicked, before beating Heaton into the far corner of the net.

Buoyed by good fortune on the second, Pep Guardiola's men went for the jugular and bagged a third when Fernandinho and Bernardo Silva took turns at flashing the ball across the face of goal before Gundogan scissor-kicked home his first league goal of the season.

After picking up a yellow card for a foul on Jack Grealish, Fernandinho made a clumsy challenge on Keinan Davis and was sent off, souring an otherwise excellent afternoon for Guardiola who could do without defensive suspensions.

Mings made his second goal-line clearance of the day after Gabriel Jesus' chip hit the crossbar and Ederson made a fine save to deny Davis at the other end before John McGinn hit the post at the death.

What does it mean? All eyes on Anfield

The result moves City back to within three points of leaders Liverpool ahead of their clash with Tottenham on Sunday, and buries the memory of a shock home defeat to Wolves on October 6.

Sterling shows polish

It looked like one of those games when City could do everything but score until Sterling was presented with his first clear chance and showed just why he is one of the league's most feared forwards.

Mings lets Jesus in

Villa's plans for the second half were upended when Mings let Jesus win the header that put Sterling through for the opener, and there was no way back for the visitors.

What's next?

City play the first of their back-to-back games against Southampton when they meet in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, while Villa face a Black Country derby at home against Wolves in the same competition the next day.

Raheem Sterling's mentality is behind his prolific run of form for club and country, according to John Stones.

Manchester City winger Sterling netted a quickfire 11-minuite hat-trick after half-time on Tuesday as Pep Guardiola's side demolished Atalanta 5-1 in the Champions League.

Sterling also supplied the cross for Sergio Aguero's 34th-minute equaliser and won the penalty from which the Argentina striker put City in front.

Of his five career hat-tricks, Sterling has now claimed four match balls in 2019, including a brilliant treble in England's 5-0 Euro 2020 qualification win over the Czech Republic at Wembley in March.

"He's been on fire. He's got that mentality, he wants more," Stones said, before noting the one-on-one opportunity Sterling missed after completing his Atalanta hat-trick would probably disappoint the 24-year-old Ballon d'Or nominee. 

"He showed it [against Atalanta]. He kept trying, he might be disappointed because he could have scored four, but I think he should be very proud for scoring a hat-trick in the Champions League.

"I'm very happy for him and he helped us to take a step closer to the next round."

Sterling has 16 goals in 17 appearances for City and England this term – a flying start to the campaign that contrasts sharply with a 2019-20 yet to get off the ground for Stones.

The former Everton centre-back has been laid low for a month at a time following a pair of thigh injuries and only featured as a substitute against Atalanta and Crystal Palace last weekend despite midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri forming a makeshift centre-back pairing.

"Obviously, it's always frustrating going through injuries," he said.

"To me, it was a bit of a setback. Now I'm back, I feel strong and healthy again. Hopefully I can stay fit and help to fight for every competition."

Stones was introduced on Tuesday after Rodri pulled up with a hamstring injury, while his fellow centre-back Aymeric Laporte is recuperating from knee surgery alongside winger Leroy Sane.

City are waiting to find out the severity of another knee problem sustained by left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, although Stones was at least able to line up alongside Nicolas Otamendi during the closing stages in midweek – the Argentina defender having shaken off a minor back complaint.

"It's been frustrating for all of us, for the manager, for the team, all the injuries we have got," said the 25-year-old.

"It's been a difficult time for us, but the guys have made a step up. They have done jobs for the team that they are not used to, so I give all the credit to them.

"Now, we [Stones and Otamendi] are back, we need to try to stay fit and healthy to help the team to fight for all the competitions."

Pep Guardiola has no doubt hat-trick hero Raheem Sterling can continue to improve but lauded the Manchester City star as "perfect" after his side's 5-1 Champions League demolition of Atalanta.

City fell behind to Ruslan Malinovskiy's penalty at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, but Sterling teed up Sergio Aguero to restore parity six minutes later in Manchester.

Sterling then won a penalty for Aguero to nose City ahead before half-time in the Group C clash, with the former running riot in the space of 11 second-half minutes.

England international Sterling should have added to his tally, but failed to finish when one-on-one with Pierluigi Gollini, though manager Guardiola hailed a faultless display from the winger – who has scored 12 goals in all competitions so far this season. 

"We were together for four years and I answered many times this question," Guardiola told a news conference when asked to comment on Sterling's development into a world class player.

"The credit is just for him. All of the credit. He can be better but he is perfect.

"His physicality, he is strong, he could play a game the day after a game, his regeneration is so strong. He is an extraordinary player. 

"He can play both sides, defensively he helps us a lot. He is an incredible player. It depends on him but he has the desire to do better."

Having slammed home from Phil Foden's tee-up just before the hour, Sterling raced onto Ilkay Gundogan's throughball to lash in his second before completing his hat-trick with a tap in from Riyad Mahrez's cross.

Sterling, however, conceded he should have helped himself to a fourth as he aims to become more clinical with his chances.

"It was difficult, especially them going man-to-man all over the pitch, so we had to stay patient," he told BT Sport.

"I should have had four. Riyad set me up for the last one and I wanted to see if he was anywhere close to lay one on a plate for him. But yes, I've got to finish them off.

There's no point scoring goals if you let in easy ones, so the penalty was a bit frustrating, but in this competition the good teams will punish you."

Raheem Sterling scored a second-half hat-trick as Manchester City moved closer to securing their progression from Champions League Group C with an emphatic 5-1 win over Atalanta.

Ruslan Malinovskiy's penalty capped a fine start for Atalanta, but the Serie A side were little match for City once Pep Guardiola's men - led by the impressive Sterling - clicked into gear.

Sergio Aguero was the benefactor of Sterling's work in the first half, tucking in from a brilliant cross before converting a penalty the England forward won.

Sterling took matters into his own hands from then on – his treble coming in the space of 11 productive minutes for City, though the emphatic win was marred by the late dismissal of Phil Foden.

Atalanta squandered a three-goal lead against Lazio in Serie A on Saturday yet were swiftly on the front foot in Manchester, taking the lead in the 28th minute. Josip Ilicic forced Fernandinho into a clumsy challenge, with Malinovskiy making no mistake from the resulting penalty.

Atalanta's opener merely sparked City into life, though, Aguero nudging home from Sterling's perfectly weighted cross and then punishing Andrea Masiello's desperate lunge by scoring from the spot.

City were soon dealt a blow as Rodri was forced off with a hamstring injury, though Kyle Walker would have extended the hosts' lead if not for Pierluigi Gollini's smart stop.

There was an injury concern for Aguero at the start of the second half but, after the striker was deemed fit to continue, Guardiola's side had their third. Kevin De Bruyne teed up Foden, whose touch fell kindly for Sterling to hammer home from close range.

He doubled his personal tally within six minutes, lashing beyond Gollini after racing onto Ilkay Gundogan's pass.

After Remo Freuler had a goal ruled out by the offside flag for Atalanta, Sterling knocked in Riyad Mahrez's cross to complete the rout, though Foden's second booking for a foul on Marten de Roon forced the hosts to play out the closing minutes with 10 men.

Cristiano Ronaldo has his sights set on another slice of history when Lokomotiv Moscow travel to Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old – who is the competition's all-time top goalscorer – is aiming to score against his 34th different opponent, which would take him one clear of Real Madrid icon Raul.

Tottenham, meanwhile, will hope the prolific Harry Kane can kick-start their stuttering campaign against Red Star Belgrade, while Manchester City's Raheem Sterling will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing winless Atalanta.

Elsewhere, under-pressure Zinedine Zidane takes his Real Madrid side to Galatasaray and Paris Saint-Germain visit Club Brugge.

Here is the pick of the key Opta facts for Tuesday's eight matches.

Club Brugge v Paris Saint-Germain

6 - Since losing eight Champions League games in a row between September 2016 and October 2018, Club Brugge are unbeaten in six in the competition (W1 D5 L0).

5 - PSG last faced Belgian opponents in the Champions League in the 2017-18 group stage, winning 4-0 away and 5-0 at home against Anderlecht.

Galatasaray v Real Madrid

1 - Galatasaray's only win in their last 17 European matches against Spanish opposition was their 3-2 win over Real Madrid in the 2012-13 Champions League quarter-final second leg (W1 D4 L12).

3 - Real Madrid are winless in three Champions League matches (W0 D1 L2), last going on a longer run between November 2005 and September 2006 (five matches), with current boss Zinedine Zidane featuring in three of those games.

Olympiacos v Bayern Munich

4 - Olympiacos have lost all four of their European meetings against Bayern Munich, losing twice in the 1980-81 European Cup and twice in the 2015-16 Champions League.

11 - Bayern Munich are unbeaten in all 11 of their European matches against Greek opponents (W9 D2 L0), keeping clean sheets in their last eight meetings with teams from that nation.

Tottenham v Red Star Belgrade

14 - Spurs striker Harry Kane has scored 14 goals in 16 Champions League group stage matches. Since his debut in the competition in September 2016, only Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski (19) have scored more goals in the group stages.

2 - Red Star Belgrade are looking to win consecutive European Cup/Champions League matches for the first time since March 1992, when they won three in a row as holders of the European Cup.

Manchester City v Atalanta

24 - Since his Champions League debut for Manchester City in September 2015, Raheem Sterling has had a hand in 24 goals in the competition (15 goals, 9 assists); five more than any other English player in that time.

2 - Atalanta are the first Italian side to lose their first two Champions League matches. The last team to lose their opening three in the competition was Otelul Galati of Romania in 2011-12, who lost all six of their group stage games that season.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Dinamo Zagreb

18 - Shakhtar's run of 18 Champions League games without a clean sheet is the longest current run of any of the 32 teams participating in the 2019-20 competition.

2 - Dinamo Zagreb's tally of just two shots against Manchester City on matchday two was the fewest by a team in a Champions League group stage game since December 2016, when Sevilla had two against Lyon.

Atletico Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen

2 - Atletico Madrid have lost just two of their 31 home Champions League matches under Diego Simeone (W23 D6 L2).

0 - Bayer Leverkusen manager Peter Bosz is still looking for his first Champions League win. He has drawn two and lost six of his previous eight matches with Borussia Dortmund and Leverkusen.

Juventus v Lokomotiv Moscow

72 - Lokomotiv's 72-year-old manager Yuri Semin was in charge the last time they faced Juventus in September 1993, losing 1-0 at home in the UEFA Cup.

33 - Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has scored against 33 different opponents in the Champions League, a joint-record with Raul. He could break that record in this match, with this his first appearance against Lokomotiv Moscow.

The Glazer family have owned Manchester United since 2005.

However, a change of owners could be on the cards, with Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman reportedly interested in buying the club.

Sunday's focus will be on a crunch clash with arch rivals Liverpool, but talk of a takeover at Old Trafford dominates the headlines in our look at the day's gossip.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED BRACED FOR NEW APPROACH

According to The Mirror, Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman is set to make a new offer to purchase Manchester United.

The Glazer family have owned United for 14 years, and they are not prepared to sell having reportedly turned down two offers from Bin Salman already.

However, Bin Salman is keen on investing in United – who have not won the Premier League title since 2012-13.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are lining up a move for RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner, reports The Express. The Red Devils are desperate for reinforcements following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez and Germany international Werner – who signed a new contract in August – has emerged as an option.

- The Daily Mail claims Paris Saint-Germain are looking to sign soon-to-be free agent Christian Eriksen from Tottenham. The Danish midfielder has been linked to Real Madrid, Juventus, Atletico Madrid and United. However, Ligue 1 champions PSG are prepared to battle for Eriksen's signature.

Manchester City are planning to offer Raheem Sterling a new bumper deal to ward off interest from Real Madrid, according to The Express. The England international has been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season.

Wolves want to sign AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie in January, says Calciomercato. The Premier League side attempted to lure Kessie to the Molineux before the transfer window closed, however, he did not want to leave Milan.

- Calciomercato reports that Inter have set their sights on in-demand Borussia Monchengladbach star Denis Zakaria. The Switzerland teenager has been linked to Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, United and Tottenham, and it will take at least €50million to prise him from the German club.

Gabriel Jesus joined an illustrious list of players after scoring his 50th Manchester City goal in the Premier League champions' 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Jesus sent a glancing header in off the post to put City ahead 39 minutes into Saturday's encounter at Selhurst Park.

David Silva doubled City's advantage with a wonderful volley two minutes later as Pep Guardiola's side moved to within five points of league leaders Liverpool.

With his goal, Jesus brought up the milestone of 50 in all competitions for City, having joined the club in January 2017.

The 22-year-old also became the seventh player to achieve the feat while playing for Guardiola, joining Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski, along with City team-mates Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling.

Jesus is only eight behind Pedro, but Messi leads the way with an incredible 211 goals during four seasons under Guardiola at Barca.

"I'm very happy, you know, because last season I had a difficult start to the season," Jesus, who has now scored in each of his last seven starts for City, told Sky Sports.

"This season is going to be different for me. I worked hard as well. I focus on the goal all the time and I think that's why I score a lot."

1. Lionel Messi, Barcelona - 211

2. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City - 103

3. Thomas Muller, Bayern Munich - 79

4. Raheem Sterling, Manchester City; Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich - both 67

6. Pedro, Barcelona - 58

7. Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City - 50

Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling were among the England players to react on Twitter after racist chanting marred their 6-0 win over Bulgaria in Sofia.

Play was temporarily halted twice during the first half of Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier at the Vasil Levski National Stadium after visiting players were subjected to racist abuse.

An announcement over the public address system was made during the first stoppage, while the second saw a section of home fans ejected from the venue.

Gareth Southgate's side opted to return to the field following discussions in their changing room at half-time, while Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov seen talking with some Bulgaria supporters during the break.

"Not an easy situation to play in and not one which should be happening in 2019. Proud we rose above it to take three points but this needs stamping out," Rashford wrote on social media, along with a picture of him celebrating scoring the opening goal.

The Manchester United forward also thanked the travelling support as well as Popov, insisting his actions should not go unnoticed.

"Thankful to the brilliant England support. You got behind us in the most meaningful way possible tonight and we are all very grateful. Have a safe journey home and take care," Rashford tweeted, to which he replied: "Also been told what the Bulgaria captain did at half-time. To stand alone and do the right thing takes courage and acts like that shouldn’t go unnoticed. #NoToRacism"

Club colleague Harry Maguire described the fan behaviour as "disgraceful" - and insisted action must be taken to make sure it does not happen again.

"The best way to bounce back. Proud of the team. There's no place in football for that - disgraceful behaviour. Something must be done," the defender tweeted.

Sterling quote-tweeted a story about Bulgaria head coach Krasimir Balakov declaring prior to the match how England had a bigger racism problem than his own country, replying: "Mmmmh ... Not sure about this one chief".

The Manchester City forward added in another post: "Feeling sorry for Bulgaria to be represented by such idiots in their stadium. Anyway.. 6-0 and we go back home, at least we did our job. Safe travel to our fans, u guys did well."

Captain Harry Kane praised the way the England team remained united, as well as congratulating debutant Tyrone Mings.

"Great performance and I’m proud of the togetherness we showed in some disgraceful circumstances," Kane wrote. "Racism has no place in society or football. It needs stamping out for good. Also a massive congrats to @OfficialTM_3 on a great debut."

Former England international Rio Ferdinand, meanwhile, called on UEFA to take action. He wrote: "Let's see punishment...", which was followed by the governing body's official Twitter handle.

Play was stopped twice before half-time during the Euro 2020 qualifier between Bulgaria and England after the visiting players were subjected to racist abuse.

Following their surprise loss to the Czech Republic on Friday, England stormed into a 4-0 lead at the interval, with Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling on target either side of Ross Barkley's brace.

But events on the field became secondary as pre-match fears England players would be targeted by racist chants were unfortunately realised.

Sterling clashed with Bulgaria winger Wanderson after being fouled by Ismail Isa Mustafa in the 25th minute and a stoppage followed, with an appeal made over the stadium's public address system urging those offending fans to desist.

It was 3-0 by the time England boss Gareth Southgate entered conversation with the fourth official, preceding another more prolonged break in play – during which a group of Bulgaria fans were ejected from the stadium.

Under UEFA's protocol for dealing with racist incidents, the next steps for match referee Ivan Bebek would be to suspend the game and send the players to their dressing rooms for a specific period and then, if discriminatory behaviour did not stop or broke out again, abandon the match.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.