Manchester City has poured north of £1 billion into creating the footballing masterclass they are today. It’s an investment in which, helped by manager Pep Guardiola, has been a gift to the impartial fan and football purists alike.
With Guardiola at the helm, Manchester City has been able to display some of the best possession-based attacking football the sport has ever seen. After years of dominating football’s most competitive league, the men in sky blue seem as qualified as any to take home European silverware and stamp their name as the world’s best.
There have been a number of names that have been central in building the successful Manchester City that is today. The likes of YaYa Toure, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany, and even Robinho come to mind.
Although Robinho was the centerpiece of the billionaire takeover in 2008, the Brazilian is now long gone. Toure and Kompany are also no longer in Manchester, but Sergio Aguero is still hitting the back of the net with regularity and the ageless David Silva remains himself despite being in his last season with the club. Kevin De Bruyne is arguably in the greatest form of his career at the age of 28, and Raheem Sterling is on track to be the greatest player on the planet given his recent form. These two and a depth of young starlets including Phil Foden lead a bright future on top of the world-class footballing model now perfected by Pep Guardiola.
In particular, it is Sterling who’s recent and somewhat surprising top-draw consistency has stood alone in a stellar rise to footballing stardom.
Sterling graces the pitch with impeccable pace and tight footwork, breaking lines and engineering goal-scoring opportunities from seemingly nowhere.
Since the 2017/18 season, the 25-year-old has seemed to shake his finishing woes scoring 18 goals with 11 assists followed by a 17-goal, 10-assist season in the Premier League season that followed.
The beginning of this season saw the English winger score 7 goals partnered with a single assist in City’s first nine league games. Sterling’s spectacular start to the season was soon followed by 4 goals in Manchester City’s opening 3 matches of the UEFA Champions League which included a brilliant hat-trick in his sides 5-1 demolition of Serie A side, Atalanta. Sterling’s superstar form has continued into the later parts of the season where his goal tally’s leave him just shy of the top bunch in both domestic and continental competitions.
Manchester City is going through a period of turmoil and will face UEFA and other sporting bodies in defending multiple charges indicating a breach of FFP rules. With the biggest clubs in Europe hounding City for Sterling’s signature, it may be very soon that we see Sterling make a move out of England’s top-flight to a club with a more established history with European success. Have Manchester City be found guilty of these charges they will be banned from the UEFA Champions League for 2 seasons, a length that a 25-year-old and peaking Raheem Sterling can not sit around and wait for.
If Raheem Sterling does decide to make the move, it will be interesting to see if his ever-growing potential will be unlocked and hit similar heights to the greatest footballers of the era.
Sterling was ranked amongst the top 10 for last season’s Ballon D’Or, and for now, have everything remain, has the right team, the right manager, the technical ability, and growing hunger for goals that can allow him to win the biggest club and individual awards that football has to offer.
Regardless of the result of Manchester City’s future in European football, if his upward trajectory continues, from next year, we could be calling him Raheem Sterling the world’s best.