Sterling admitted that he would be “open” to leaving the Etihad having found himself out of favour under Guardiola since the second half of last season.
The 26-year-old City contract is set to expire at the end of next season and negotiations over a renewal have stalled, with Sterling seeking guarantees over his game time.
“I didn’t know [he had considered leaving], I think the club didn’t know it either” Guardiola said, when asked about Sterling’s remarks.
“Raheem is our player, hopefuly he’ll be incredibly important player for us. I don’t know if he’ll play more.”
Guardiola argued that if Sterling wants to play more minutes, he has to prove he deserves a regular place with his perofmance on the pitch.
“Riyad [Mahrez] and Joao [Cancelo] want to play all the same but don’t complain,” the Catalan added.
“I cannot assure them, I cannot say how many minutes they will play. They have to speak on the grass, that’s the best moment all of them.
“They’ll all play minutes, I don’t play 11 players and that’s all. What I want is for them to be happy, satisfied, delighted. If not they are free to take decisions that are best for them.
“They have to be happy. I understand him wanting more time. I’m not an exception. All of them want to play 90 minutes and I cannot assure them. They have to improve in training and try to be on the pitch.”
When asked whether he was confident that Sterling will stay, Guardiola said: “I’m not involved in the contracts, the club decide that.”
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