Raheem Sterling to Real Madrid: The Liverpool forward would be out of his depth at the Bernabeu

COMMENT: The reigning European champions might be 'monitoring' the England international's contract negotiations, but a move this summer would be too soon

Of course Real Madrid know who Raheem Sterling is, Zinedine Zidane has said.

The manager of Real Madrid's Castilla B-Team has gone as far as saying the reigning European champions are "monitoring" the Liverpool forward who recently made clear his future could lie away from Anfield.

Such comments will inevitably lead to speculation that Sterling could be bound for the Bernabeu this summer. But such a move, if it were to happen, would likely be disastrous for the England international.

Among those to state that Liverpool is the best club for the 20-year-old at this stage of his career are former Reds captain Jamie Carragher and The Independent's columnist Paul Scholes. Sterling is still developing and his best chance of turning his potential into world beating talent is under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers goes the argument. Then there is the fact he will get a regular game at Liverpool, something that couldn't be guaranteed at many other clubs, particularly Real Madrid.

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Sterling in defeat to Arsenal

 

Former Manchester United and Everton player and BBC pundit Phil Neville recently spoke about Sterling's chances of getting into the teams of Liverpool's Premier League rivals.

"I don't think he would get into Chelsea's team with Diego Costa there," he said.

"Would he make Manchester City's team with Sergio Aguero there? Manchester United with Wayne Rooney there?"

On that basis, what hopes of breaking into Real Madrid's side? A side boasting attacking talents including Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez, Luka Modric, Isco and Gareth Bale.

It is perhaps the latter who Sterling and his advisers should look to when contemplating any transfer to Real Madrid. In his second season at the Bernabeu, the Welshman has found himself criticised by his own fans and team-mates for failing to come up to the grade demanded of those who wear the white shirt. That's despite 13 goals and seven assists for Los Blancos in the league this season. That compares to six goals and seven assists for Sterling this term for Liverpool.

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Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale

 

Sterling is undoubtedly a great talent - but his performance against Arsenal and numerous others this season show he still has much to learn. He still makes the wrong pass, chooses to run with the ball when he should look for a team-mate and take one too many or not enough touches in front of goal. In contrast, in Bale's final season at Tottenham before receiving the offer no footballer can refuse from Real Madrid, he scored 21 goals in the league and was named Premier League Player of the Season, the PFA Players' Player of the Year, the PFA Young Player of the Year and the FWA Player of the Year. Sterling will win none of those this term.

 

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Zinedine Zidane is seen as a future Real Madrid manager

 

Zidane's "monitoring" comment may have caught the attention and fuelled speculation that Sterling could become the first Englishman since David Beckham to play for Real Madrid, but it was another view he expressed in the same interview that carries more weight.

There are "very few players in the world who can improve the Real Madrid squad" he said. Right now, Sterling isn't one of them.

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