The superlatives have been exhausted, records have been broken and a multitude of respectable clubs have been embarrassed by Manchester City since the beginning of the 2017/18 season, but the media have a new darling to gush over in light of a compelling individual opening to the campaign.
The landscape has changed at the Etihad Stadium; no longer is Raheem Sterling a player exclusively appreciated by those supporters donning blue and white, he is rapidly becoming a firm-favourite throughout the British media following years of slanderous, unwarranted and unquestionably derogatory criticism.
That Sterling has blossomed into one of the bravest attacking talents in world football following years of media torture is a testament to the strength of his character and the extent of his enormous ability. Where others have fallen, Sterling has risen and flourished into the player which he hinted he could become when he taunted his current club at Anfield back in August 2012.
By quite literally adding the finishing touches to his game – particularly his positioning sense, decision-making and confidence – Sterling has become a deadly attacking outlet under Pep Guardiola.
His performance against Southampton on Sunday afternoon was about as flawless as they come, and he earned praise of the highest esteem from BBC pundit Garth Crooks in his team of the week column.
‘I honestly think Sterling can be the next Cristiano Ronaldo but to become the best in the world you need the best teacher or to be amongst the best players.
‘City already have the best teacher and their players are developing fast. If Sterling knows what’s good for him he should stay where he is. At least for the time being.’
A pundit who is renowned for consistently steering clear of the temptation to sit on the proverbial fence in the most outlandish manner possible, Crooks’ claim that Sterling can become the next Ronaldo epitomises everything that makes him so hilariously extravagant in his analysis.
Classic Crooks. But it’s a bold statement which carries a sense of legitimacy in light of Sterling’s unstoppable opening to the new campaign.
As Crooks has alluded to, City have the best manager in all the land in Pep Guardiola, and with the Spaniard at the helm there is no doubt that Sterling will continue to develop and reach the very pinnacle of his game in Manchester.
With reports last week revealing that Sterling has verbally agreed to a new contract at the club, the Citizens faithful can rest easy in the knowledge that the 23-year-old does indeed know what’s good for him and will continue to bless the Etihad with his dazzling footwork and clinical edge in the final-third.
Whether he can eventually emulate the kind of statistical return which Ronaldo can boast and compete for the Ballon d’Or award alongside Europe’s most captivating talents remains to be seen, but on current form, it would take a brave punter to bet against him.
Man City fans – thoughts? Let us know below!