Former England international Trevor Sinclair believes Manchester City ace Raheem Sterling is on a par with Barcelona and Juventus superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Sinclair joined talkSPORT earlier this week to heap praise on the forward after he scored twice for England over the recent international break, saying he is an invaluable part of Pep Guardiola’s Man City squad,
“Raheem Sterling is right at the top of the tree,” said Sinclair. “If he’s not worth £200million now, I’d be surprised.
“He’s the best player playing for England and he’s the first player on the team sheet for Pep Guardiola.
“The big question now is where do you put him with the likes of Messi and Ronaldo? I would put him right amongst them. He’s there now.”
But does Sterling deserve to be rated alongside the two legends of the game, who for over a decade have played at an elite level perhaps never seen before in the world of football?
The England forward has been in sensational form for Man City over the past few years, coinciding with Guardiola’s arrival at the Etihad.
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Since the start of the 2016/17 season, when Guardiola was appointed City manager, Sterling has scored 64 goals in all competitions, adding a further 55 assists. This means Sterling is providing a direct goal contribution ever 1.25 matches – a stunning ratio for a player who was criticised in his early career for supposedly lacking an end product.
While Sterling is a fantastic player, Sinclair’s bold claim was that he is up there with Ronaldo and Messi, two of the world’s best players.
Last season, Messi scored 36 goals and assisted a further 13 in 34 LaLiga games. The Argentine managed a remarkable 1.44 goal contributions per game during this campaign, leaving Sterling’s excellent 0.79 contributions per game paling in comparison. In all competitions, Messi scored 51 goals, in 50 appearances.
On the other hand, Ronaldo had a fairly poor debut season with Juventus compared to his usual elite standards.
Nonetheless, his numbers are still better than most other players, scoring 21 times and adding eight assists in 31 Serie A games. He also netted another seven times in cup competitions.
Ronaldo’s 0.94 goal contributions per game means he also, like Messi, fared better than Sterling last term apropos his impact in the final third.
Not too shabby from a bloke who turns 35 later this season.
Sterling vs Ronaldo and Messi since start of 2018/19 season
Raheem Sterling – 56 appearances, 31 goals (in all competitions)
Lionel Messi – 50 appearances, 51 goals
Cristiano Ronaldo – 45 appearances, 29 goals
Turning back the clock to evaluate a 24-year-old Ronaldo also makes for stunning reading, as he is so far ahead of Sterling, who enjoyed his 24th birthday last December.
During the 2009/10 season, the Portugal winger scored a staggering 33 goals in 35 games for Real Madrid, also registering 12 assists for a remarkable 1.29 goal contributions per game.
All things considered, Ronaldo and Messi are not only two of the best players in the world right now, but also two of the greatest players to ever step onto a football pitch.
To claim Sterling is not at their elite level is not a knock on the Englishman, but just further proof that Messi and Ronaldo are once in a generation talents.
Sterling is undeniably a supremely talented player, and his five goals in four games so far this season prove he is set for another impressive campaign.
He will be hoping his goals lead City to their third consecutive Premier League title, to further fill his trophy cabinet and stake a serious claim for future Ballon d’Or success.
However, Sinclair may have been looking through slightly rose-tinted glasses when placing Sterling on the same level as two of the greatest to ever play the game.
Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti has slammed the local council over their failure to complete renovation work at the Stadio San Paolo on time.
The Serie A club have had to play each of their first two games this season away from home as work on their stadium is still not complete, despite initial estimates suggesting it would be finished during the summer.
Napoli are set to host Sampdoria in the Serie A and Liverpool in the Champions League on Saturday and Tuesday respectively, and Ancelotti is worried over where his players will change as the work on their dressing room is somehow still not finished.
Napoli shared the below video on Twitter, showing just how far the dressing room is from completion.
The seasoned manager shared his unhappiness at the state of the changing rooms in a statement on the club’s website
“You can build a house in two months, but they weren’t capable of renovating the dressing rooms,” said Ancelotti.
“I have seen the state of the dressing rooms at the San Paolo. There are no words. I accepted the club’s request to play the first two games away from home to allow the work to be finished, as was promised.
“Where are we supposed to get changed for the games against Sampdoria and Liverpool? I’m shocked at the incompetence of the people in charge of the work.
“How could the region, municipality and commissioners fail to respect the commitments that were made? It smacks of disregard and a lack of a bond with the city’s team. I’m dismayed.”
Pep Guardiola’s side is one of the strongest in the world, with a host of sensational attacking players like Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling backed up by a stronge backline that boasts players such as Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte and Ederson.
But how many City stars make it into the most valuable XI of current Premier League players?
talkSPORT have dug through transfermarkt.co.uk’s valuation data to create the most pricey XI for the Premier League – and we decided to have a look at Europe’s four other top leagues as well.
Find out below which division can claim to have the most valuable XI…
Premier League most valuable XI – total market value = £1.04billion
Allison (Liverpool) – £72m
TrentAlexander-Arnold (Liverpool) – £72m
VirgilvanDijk (Liverpool) – £81m
AymericLaporte (Manchester City) – £67.5m
AndyRobertson (Liverpool) – £54m
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) – £90m
PaulPogba (Manchester United) – £90m
MohamedSalah (Liverpool) – £135m
KevinDeBruyne (Manchester City) – £117m
RaheemSterling (Manchester City) – £126m
HarryKane (Tottenham) – £135m
There are no real surprises in the Premier League’s most valuable XI, possibly with the exception of there being more Liverpool players (4) than those from Manchester City (3).
Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah are valued the highest out of all Premier League players, both at £135m.
LaLiga most valuable XI – total market value = £934.9million
JanOblak (Atletico Madrid) – £90m
DaniCarvajal (Real Madrid) – £45m
Jose Gimenez (Atletico Madrid) – £63m
RaphaelVarane (Real Madrid) – £63m
Jordi Alba (Barcelona) – £45m
Saul (Atletico Madrid) – £81m
FrenkiedeJong (Barcelona) – £76.5m
Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – £135m
JoaoFelix (Atletico Madrid) – £90m
EdenHazard (Real Madrid) – £135m
AntoineGriezmann (Barcelona) – £117m
Once again, it is no real surprise to see Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid dominating, with no player from outside Spain’s big three making it into the most valuable XI.
Lionel Messi and new Real Madrid signing Eden Hazard are the most expensive players in the squad, both valued, like Salah and Kane in the Premier League, at £135m.
Serie A most valuable XI – total market value = £644.3million
GianluigiDonnarumma (AC Milan) – £49.5m
AlessandroFlorenzi (Roma) – £22.5m
Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli) – £67.5m
MatthijsdeLigt (Juventus) – £67.5
AlexSandro (Juventus) – £40.5m
MiralemPjanic (Juventus) – £63m
SergejMilinkovic-Savic (Lazio) – £58.5m
Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina) – £54m
PauloDybala (Juventus) – £76.5m
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) – £81m
RomeluLukaku (Inter Milan) – £67.5m
Five Juventus players feature in the most valuable XI for Italy’s Serie A, including Cristiano Ronaldo.
Despite the inclusion of the Portuguese forward, the Serie A XI has a relatively low overall value and does not feature a single player worth more than £100m.
Bundesliga most valuable XI – total market value = £624.8million
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich) – £16.2m
Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich) – £63m
NiklasSule (Bayern Munich) – £54m
LucasHernandez (Bayern Munich) – £63m
DavidAlaba (Bayern Munich) – £49m
Thiago (Bayern Munich) – £63m
LeonGoretzka (Bayern Munich) – £45m
JadonSancho (Borussia Dortmund) – £90m
KaiHavertz (Bayer Leverkusen) – £81m
Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund) – £45m
Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) – £58.5m
England wonderkid Jadon Sancho is the most valuable player in the Bundesliga XI, with the teenager already worth £90m.
He is one of only four players in the XI not contracted to Bayern Munich, along with his Borussia Dortmund team-mate Julian Brandt.
Ligue 1 most valuable XI – total market value = £677.5million
Anthony Lopes (Lyon) – £22.5m
Thomas Meunier (PSG) – £27m
Marquinhos (PSG) – £58.5m
Thilo Kehrer (PSG) – £31.5m
LayvinKurzawa (PSG) £15.75m
Marco Verratti (PSG) £67.5m
HoussemAuoar (Lyon) £40.5m
Florian Thauvin (Marseille) – £40.5m
PabloSarabia (PSG) – £36m
Neymar (PSG) – £162m
KylianMbappe (PSG) – £180m
Perhaps the only surprise is to see that PSG have only eight players in this most expensive XI – rather than eleven!
Kylian Mbappe and Neymar both feature, being valued at £180m and £162m respectively. They are the two most valuable players in the world right now, according to transfermarkt.
It means the Champions League finalists could lose their star man for nothing next summer, and he could even agree a pre-contract deal with another club as soon as January, with Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus all waiting in the wings.
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Spurs are said to be resigned to Eriksen’s exit, but are willing to let him join Juventus as long as Dybala comes the other way as his direct replacement.
Eriksen has been one of the Premier League’s most prolific goal creators since joining Tottenham from Ajax in 2013 for just £11million.
He has made a total of 281 appearances for Spurs, scoring 67 goals and providing 86 assists.
Dybala would be a decent replacement for the Dane. The 25-year-old was Juventus’ main man until the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo which shifted him out the starting XI.
That had an effect on his goal output last season, scoring just ten and assisting five, but his numbers before Ronaldo make for impressive reading – 26 goals and seven assists in the 2017/18 campaign, 19 goals and nine assists in 16/17 and 23 goals and nine assists in 15/16.
Inter Milan have released their new third strip for the 2019/20 season and the kit is a sure fire winner with fans.
The retro Nike design is predominantly black, with striking yellow features, with the iconic Pirelli logo made to look even more eye-catching.
The new shirt pulls together elements of the iconic looks from two seasons in which the Nerazzurriwere one of the best sides in Europe: 1997-98 and 2009-10.
Ronaldo (known as ‘El Fenomeno‘) was one of the best in the world when he was at the San Siro and the influence from the 1997/98 kit is evident with the return of the silhouette.
The shirt is accented with a bright yellow trim and detailing and a clean crew-neck collar, the same style the Nerazzurri donned in ’09-10 when the team won an unprecedented treble.
“Black and yellow is always a winning combination, and Inter’s third kit looks especially dynamic,” says Pete Hoppins, Nike Football Apparel Senior Design Director.
“We’ve taken inspiration from two special older kits, kept things on trend with the ’90s themes we are seeing in streetwear at the moment and the result is something that we hope will appeal to all fans.”
It comes after Nike also released a mint green away kit for the Italian giants and follows in their latest edition of retro third kits.
While it is evident the 21-year-old has a penchant for the spectacular, he still has displayed a ruthless side in front of goal which means he has more goals than Raheem Sterling had before reaching the age of 22.
In fact, he is level with Cristiano Ronaldo as well, although some way behind the likes of Harry Kane and Lionel Messi.
Former teammate Romelu Lukaku, whose departure to Inter Milan perhaps placed more pressure on Rashford’s young shoulders, has almost double the number of goals.
The forward does not turn 22 until Halloween of this year, so still has time to catch up with England colleague Kane and current teammate Anthony Martial.
CLUB GOALS BEFORE THE AGE OF 22
Romelu Lukaku – 93
Wayne Rooney – 81
Lionel Messi – 80
Harry Kane – 52
Anthony Martial – 48
Marcus Rashford – 47
Cristiano Ronaldo – 47
Raheem Sterling – 39
It is worth taking into consideration how many of Kane’s 52 goals before the age of 22 were scored in the lower leagues, with the England captain spending time on loan from Tottenham Hotspur at a number of clubs.
Rashford scored twice on the opening day of the season as the Red Devils thrashed Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford in a clinical display.
However, he has failed to score since then and even missed a crucial penalty during the 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at home.
Boris Johnson will continue to campaign for an election he is yet to successfully call, after a torrid day where his brother RESIGNED from Government while describing being torn between family and ‘the national interest’.
The Prime Minister visited Scotland on Friday, to drum up support among voters, as opposition leaders continue their talks over how to prevent a no-deal Brexit on October 31.
The PM’s continued campaigning comes after a day of unwelcome events saw Jo Johnson quit as a senior minister attending meetings of his brother’s Cabinet.
The pro-EU Johnson described facing ‘unresolvable tension’ and being ‘torn between family loyalty and the national interest’.
But Boris Johnson maintained his uncompromising stance on Brexit, saying in a televised speech that he would rather be ‘dead in a ditch’ than go to Brussels to ask for a further delay.
Although rare, sport often offers siblings the chance to bury any lingering issues from childhood and build successful bonds.
Despite the ongoing rifts between Boris and Jo, we thought it apt to celebrate the footballing siblings who went from teenage tykes to winning trophies.
Check out the top ten below.
10. Filippo and Simone Inzaghi
‘Pippo’ made a name for himself as the archetypal poacher, a Fox in the Box whose six-yard strikes helped him win two Champions League titles, three Serie A titles and the World Cup in 2006.
For brother Simone, his playing career was relatively modest and he remained firmly in his brother’s shadow.
However, his move into management has seen the roles reversed, with Simone coming into a world of his own and he has been in charge of Lazio since 2016. Filippo was in charge of former side AC Milan, but has struggled and has just been appointed as manager of Benevento.
9. Lars and Sven Bender
12 minutes is the only difference between the twins, with Sven slightly older. As youngsters, both trained at TSV Brannenburg before both moved to 1860 Munich in 2006.
However, the older brother moved to Borussia Dortmund in 2009 and the siblings were separated as Lars moved to Bayer Leverkusen. The duo enjoyed mixed success at their respective clubs, with Lars earning the captaincy of Die Werkself, while Sven reached the Champions League final in 2013.
Thankfully, Sven brought his eight-tenure with Dortmund to an end in 2017 and the pair form part of Leverkusen’s defence.
8. Frank and Ronald de Boer
Another set of twins, there have arguably never been a pair who impacted the game as much as the De Boers. Technically gifted, both began their careers at Ajax in 1988 and became key components of Louis van Gaal’s successful side.
They then followed Van Gaal to Barcelona for £22million, but their successful first season was prove to be a one-off. Both brothers joined Dick Advocaat at Rangers, before seeing out their careers in Qatar.
Frank was a ball-playing centre-back, while Ronald was a goal-scoring midfielder.
7. Eden and Thorgan Hazard
For fans of the Premier League, former Chelsea star Eden will need no introduction. But the stage may soon be set for Thorgan to usurp the Real Madrid winger.
After lighting up the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach, the 26-year-old moved to Borussia Dortmund in the summer and is a regular with Belgium alongside his brother, the captain.
Thorgan has started the season for Dortmund alongside the likes of Jadon Sancho, while Eden’s start at the Bernabeu has been far from plain sailing. Questions about his fitness and even his weight have plagued the 28-year-old since he arrived in Spain.
6. Rio and Anton Ferdinand
After seeing Rio depart for Leeds United for a world-record £18million in 2000, West Ham fans were convinced they would have to wait years to see another centre-half come through the ‘Academy of Football’.
However, just a few years later brother Anton came through and displayed the same composure on the ball as well as the outstanding physical attributes which his elder brother had become fabled for.
But it was Rio who enjoyed the more glittering career, moving for another world record fee to Manchester United and winning six Premier League trophies and the Champions League, amassing 81 caps for England as well.
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5. Rafinha and Thiago Alcantara
In terms of pure technical ability, these two may just be the best thanks to their World Cup-winning father Mazinho and their education at Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy.
But although they are both gifted midfield players., that is where the similarities end. Thiago opted to play for Spain and is sponsored by Nike. Rafinha plays for Brazil and is sponsored by adidas.
Mazinho’s career took him across the globe, resulting in his sons’ multicultural upbringing. Thiago was born in Italy and then he moved to Spain at the age of five.
For Rafinha, he was born in Brazil and failed to quite hit the heights of his older brother, currently spending the season on loan at Celta Vigo from Barca while Thiago lights up the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich.
4. Michael and Brian Laudrup
Before Christian Eriksen became the darling of Denmark, the Laudrup brothers were the pride of Scandinavia, with their elegance and poise on the ball mesmerising.
Michael was arguably the more successful of the two, league titles with Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid as well as a European Cup. In fact, he was named as the Best Danish Footballer ever in 2006.
But younger brother Brian played a crucial role in Denmark’s 1992 European Championships win and became a cult hero at Chelsea and Rangers during the latter stages of his career.
3. Sir Bobby and Jack Charlton
Although the two brothers are no longer particularly close, their journey from the small mining town of Ashington to World Cup glory in 1966 is truly remarkable.
Bobby, the short and dynamic attacker, was a complete contract to Jack’s unerring centre-half. But the duo were brought up in an impoverished life where they only had one another at times.
As the final whistle blew on that scorching afternoon at Wembley against West Germany, Bobby headed straight for his older brother.
“Nobody can ever take this moment away from us,” he told Jack as they embraced, tears streaming down the younger sibling’s face.
2. Phil and Gary Neville
The duo began their footballing careers in Bury as two tykes who just wanted to kick lumps put of each, as brothers naturally do. Older brother Gary was the more physically advanced of the two and broke into the Manchester United team first.
But it was Phil who took his brother’s right-back spot for the 1996 FA Cup Final, before being left out of England’s 1998 World Cup squad.
Phil left for Everton and became club captain, before both ended up at Valencia during an ill-fated management spell. The younger Neville is now managing the England Women’s team, while Gary can be heard airing his views on football in his role as a pundit.
1. Kolo and Yaya Toure
So iconic are the Toure brothers, the fan favourite song meant for them transcended football and was soon being performed on the strips of Magaluf and Malia.
After older brother Kolo earned a move to Arsenal, it seemed natural Yaya would follow. But Arsene Wenger passed on the chance to sign the midfielder and he wound up at Barcelona.
Meanwhile Kolo got a lucrative move to Manchester City and convinced Roberto Mancini his brother was the man City needed.
While neither man will have wanted to leave the Etihad in the way they did, the impact the Toure brothers had on the Premier League was huge Kolo was a key part of the Gunners’ 2004 ‘Invincibles’ team while Yaya will be remembered as one of the greatest midfielders to ever grace these shores.
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