Raheem Sterling has publicly declared his willingness to leave Manchester City if his game time does not improve. The England international has been a key player for the club in the last few years. But a loss of form since the middle of last season has resulted in a reduction in game time.
The winger has started only nine of City's last 25 matches in the Premier League and Champions League. Things got worse towards the end of last season as he was rarely called upon for the big games. But he redeemed himself with a solid showing for England at the Euro 2020 tournament.
The forward played so well that he was even in the conversation for Best Player of the Tournament. But back at the Etihad Stadium, things have started off the same way in the team this term. He is regularly left out of the starting line-up, which has led to speculations concerning his future.
During the international break, former England player and Arsenal legend Ian Wright spoke on the situation urging Sterling to have a conversation with his manager to find a solution. It seems the winger chose to speak to Guardiola through the press instead.
He revealed his frustration in an interview, expressing how much playing regularly means to him.
“I’m not a person that’s going to complain. I’ve not tried to make it a bigger deal than it actually is,” Sterling told the FT Business of Sport US Summit.
“I get on with my work, do what I need to do. And I’m just raring to go — playing football matches regularly, score goals regularly.
“From being a young child, football has been the most important thing in my life, my most happiest I should say…”
He went on to explain how important playing regularly is to him and finalised by making it clear he is ready to leave the club in search of more game time.
“If there was the opportunity to go somewhere else for more game time I would be open to it at this moment in time,” he continued.
“As I said, football is the most important thing to me — challenges that I have set myself from a young age and dreams as well.”
He also gave an indication of where he would prefer to go. And it’s not surprising given the fact that he has severally flirted with Real Madrid. Although no name was dropped, his preferred destination has been more or less an open secret.
“As an English player all I know is the Premier League and I’ve always thought you know maybe one day I’d love to play abroad to see how I would come up against that challenge.”
This could very well be a come-get-me appeal to Real Madrid who are currently in shopping mode. The Spanish giants are actively trying to lure Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu. Reports also have it that the 13-time Champions League winners would also like to add Paul Pogba to the list of new recruits.
Could Sterling be trying to force his way into Florentino Perez’s thoughts for a January swoop with this interview?