Manchester City news: Raheem Sterling is not on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's level, says Pep Guardiola

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Friday 13 September 2019 15:11 BST
Aymeric Laporte injury takes shine off Man City win

Pep Guardiola has played down comparisons between Raheem Sterling and the world's best players, claiming that nobody comes close to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Sterling was widely praised for his displays during the September international break with England and has already scored six goals in five games for Manchester City this season.

The 24-year-old's recent form and marked improvement under Guardiola's management has led some to rank him alongside to Messi and Ronaldo, world football's best players of the last decade.

Guardiola told Sterling to ignore such talk on Friday, reminding him that nobody can currently compare to the two players who have won 10 of the last 11 Ballon d'Ors between them.

“I’m so happy for him, for the way he’s playing here and national team, but hopefully he won’t read or listen to these kind of things," the City manager said. "Nobody can compare with Cristiano or Messi, nobody.

"I don’t know if he is the best in England, you’re the journalist. Since we are together, not just now, he’s been incredible with work ethic, nice guy, I’m delighted for him.”

Sterling has transformed into one of the most dangerous forwards in Europe since Guardiola's arrival at City, scoring 48 goals at club level in only the past two seasons.

Gareth Southgate, the England manager, said earlier this week that Sterling has the ability to emulate and eventually overtake Messi and Ronaldo at the pinnacle of the world game.

"He'll give himself every chance of doing that," Southgate said. "There are obviously some outstanding players around, the [Eden] Hazards, the [Kevin] De Bruynes, Messi and Ronaldo.

"But he's got the drive, he's got the professionalism, he's got the ability. He's physically and mentally strong for such a small statured lad."

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