Arsene Wenger has weighed in on the Raheem Sterling debate by claiming it’s unlikely the Manchester City star will match Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Sterling has won himself plenty of admirers, including Wenger, for his exploits across recent seasons at City. In fact, it’s led some to compare him to five-time Ballon d’Or winners Ronaldo and Messi.
Citizens boss Pep Guardiola has already attempted to quash talk by insisting that “nobody can compare with Cristiano or Messi”.
But Sterling’s stunning start to the new campaign has seemingly made the Catalan’s efforts futile. So far, he’s managed nine goals and two assists in 11 appearances for City across all competitions.
While acknowledging him as one of Europe’s best, however, Wenger doesn’t believe Sterling’s skils rival Ronaldo or Messi.
“At the moment I would say no,” the former Arsenal boss told beIN Sports.
“You have always to be careful, I personally like Sterling. But when you talk about these guys you are talking about 50 goals a season for 10 seasons.
“So, I think personally that he is not there but he is one of the prominent players in the [Premier] League – which is one of the best in Europe.”
Nevertheless, Wenger remains a keen admirer of Sterling’s having watched him develop down the years. He even compared him to a former winger of his at Arsenal in Marc Overmars.
“I always thought when he was a young boy, I thought he had unbelievable pace and quantity of power to repeat that pace,” continued the Frenchman.
“Both he and [Leroy] Sane are the highest intensity workers in the league, he is so quick on his first two yards, he reminds me of Marc Overmars. That’s unstoppable.
“What Sterling didn’t have back then was calmness in his finishing but now he has that. Sometimes, with very fast players they want to rush their finish and that’s what he has improved.
“He has confidence. He still misses some, his conversion rate could be improved, but he is an exceptional talent and he can cause damage against anybody.”
Sterling will be in action tonight for England’s Euro 2020 qualifier at the Czech Republic in Group A. The match starts at 20:45 (CET).