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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019

'He is a potential Ballon d’Or winner over the next four or five years'

Raheem Sterling’s rapid development has left Jamie Carragher very impressed.

Raheem Sterling has impressed for Man City this season.
Raheem Sterling has impressed for Man City this season.

RAHEEM STERLING IS destined to be a global superstar like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, according to Jamie Carragher, who tipped the Manchester City winger as a contender to win the Ballon d’Or in the near future.

Last season’s Football Writers Footballer of the Year award winner has started the 2019-20 campaign in magnificent form, scoring six goals in five appearances for Pep Guardiola’s side.

The 24-year-old carried his bright performances for the Premier League champions into international duty last week, scoring in both of England’s wins over Bulgaria and Kosovo in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Sterling’s development into a star for club and country has stunned former England and Liverpool centre-back Carragher, who believes his place among the best in the world has now been established.

“I have seen it written since the midweek internationals Sterling is England’s best player. He is much more than that,” Carragher told The Telegraph .

He is now in the top five or six best attacking players in the world, in that group just below Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I wrote recently he and Sadio Mane are the best left-sided players out there. I now rate Sterling above Neymar.

“His ambition, alongside Kylian Mbappe, should be to fill the post-Messi and Ronaldo void once they retire. He is a potential Ballon d’Or winner over the next four or five years, the current upward trajectory destined to make Sterling a global superstar.

“I would go so far as to say there is a similarity with Cristiano Ronaldo’s development at Manchester United.”

He added: “The concept of the wide striker was revolutionised by Ronaldo and he has not stopped breaking goal records since, striking another four for his country earlier this week.

Sterling has different traits, yet his capacity to get on the end of opportunities means he too can be prolific.

“As he does not take penalties or free-kicks like Ronaldo it is difficult to match his strike rate, but Sterling should certainly target 30 goals for City in this campaign and look to repeat those numbers for the peak of his career.”

Carragher admits that his initial opinion of Sterling was wrong, as he felt Liverpool came out on top of his big-money sale to City four years ago.

“I never envisaged he would become as good as he is and thought Liverpool had secured a good deal to get just under £50 million,” he added.

“I was wrong. By the end of his career it will be obvious City bought him at a bargain price.”

With the warm-up games out of the way, Murray, Bernard and Gavan discuss the renewed cause for optimism, impressive individual player form, and a potential quarter-final versus either South Africa or New Zealand.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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