Raheem Sterling

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Goal-scoring subs Foden, Sterling hail Man City performance

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A pair of English attackers came off the bench to help dominant Manchester City finally break through Dinamo Zagreb in UEFA Champions League play at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

[ RECAP: Man City 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb ]

Raheem Sterling scored a 66th minute goal and assisted Phil Foden‘s stoppage time goal, which came three minutes after the 19-year-old entered the fray.

City was all over Dinamo but just couldn’t find that goal when Rodri slipped Riyad Mahrez into the left side of the box, a cut back to Sterling pounded into the back of the goal.

“It needed a change of tempo and Raheem brought that well,” Foden said. “It is all about enjoying your time on the pitch and I am happy to score and help the team.”

Sterling raved about his young team after the match, and promoted Foden as a next level sort of player. Attention Gareth Southgate. From the BBC:

“Players that we have here, you have to read the game and the goals will come. I am buzzing for Phil and I want him in the national team, if he keeps going he will be there.”

Foden really wants to play more, and seemingly every pundit in England has been asking why he hasn’t been in City’s lineup more often.

He’s trying not to worry about it.

“You have to show the manager what you can do each day in training, every young kid wants to play but you have to keep patient.”

Manchester City handles pesky Dinamo Zagreb

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Dominant Manchester City had to work for its Raheem Sterling-finished breakthrough in a 2-0 defeat of Dinamo Zagreb in UEFA Champions League play on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Sterling scored and assisted Phil Foden‘s stoppage time goal, as City took 1,025 touches to the visitors’ 392. Dinamo Zagreb completed just 53 percent of their passes, were out shot 20-2, and had just 19 percent possession.

City now has six points, and has beaten both of the teams in the group who boast wins. A pair of matches with winless Atalanta are next.

Three things we learned

1. Zagreb frustrates with five (plus) at the back: City had more than 80 percent of the ball and almost all of the shot attempts, but the persistent and well-drilled visitors proved difficult to break down.

2. Rodri and Gundogan rule the roost: While Man City’s forwards to their time to find footing, Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan were very strong in the midfield. Gundogan completed 113 of his 120 passes, while Rodri converted 116 of 126 passes (92 percent) including a sensational “hockey assist” on Sterling’s opener.

Again, let’s do the math: 229 completed passes between two midfielders. Outstanding.

3. Super sub Sterling supplies breakthrough: The winner was very much a team goal, as Sterling had been in the game for less than 10 minutes when he took a pass from Riyad Mahrez to make it 1-0.

And to combine points Nos. 2 and 3, how about that scything pass from Rodri

Man of the Match: Rodri — He looks the absolute correct piece for City’s midfield puzzle (which was already pretty darn good).

Gundogan cranked a shot off the woodwork, and City later had a goal taken off the board due to Sergio Aguero handling in the build-up.

Dinamo goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic made two first half saves including a very promising opportunity for Aguero.

The frustrations of only producing a single goal despite myriad chances got to Pep Guardiola, who was shown a yellow card for dissent.

Joao Cancelo was a particularly bright spot for City, whipping in crosses and zipping about the right side.

Sterling’s goal came when Rodri fed Mahrez, a relative bright spot, into the left of the box. A cut back was blasted home by the England winger.

Foden subbed into the game and scored inside of the four minutes stoppage time.

Raheem Sterling linked with move to Real Madrid

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Raheem Sterling has been in sensational form for Manchester City and England for well over 12 months now, and it appears Real Madrid want him to become their next Galactico.

Numerous reports claim that Real want to sign Sterling, 24, and one report from the Athletic’s Sam Lee states that Real Madrid met with Sterling’s representatives over the summer.

Per that report, Sterling said he is happy at Man City for now but he is interested in signing for Real in the future. He has a contract at City until 2023, as he signed a new deal in November 2018.

Should Man City be worried?

Sterling is a superstar at Man City and his talent has been nurtured expertly by Pep Guardiola over the past three seasons. As long as Pep is at City, it is a safe bet Sterling will stay. But if City win the UEFA Champions League this season, Sterling will have won everything possible with the club.

He is still just 24 years old, which is quite ridiculous considering all he has achieved so far in the game, and Sterling’s pace will add a totally new dimension to Real’s attack. With Mauricio Pochettino linked with taking over at Madrid with Zinedine Zidane getting off to a shaky start to his first full season back in charge, what about a Sterling, Eden Hazard and Harry Kane partnership up top?

If Real want to return to being the top dogs in Europe, that front line would go some way to achieving that. Signing Kane and Sterling would set them back a lot of cash on transfer fees along but we all know they have the money to spend.

USWNT’s Rapinoe lauds Sterling, Koulibaly in acceptance speech

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Megan Rapinoe again used her pulpit to shine a light on worthy topics.

Awarded FIFA’s Best women’s player award on Monday in Milan, the USWNT superstar and two-time World Cup winner addressed two men’s stars who have faced racial abuse this year.

[ MORE: Five USWNT players make Best XI ]

After thanking her friends, family, and coach Jill Ellis, Rapinoe turned her attention to black stars from Manchester City and Napoli.

From the BBC:

“Some of the stories that inspired me this year, Raheem Sterling and Koulibaly their incredible performance on the field and their reaction to the disgusting racism they have to take.

“If we really want to have meaningful change, if everyone other than Sterling or Koulibaly was outraged, if everyone was outraged by the homophobia. We have such an incredible opportunity being professional footballers, so much success, an incredible platform.

“I ask everyone here, lend your platform to other people, share your success. We have a unique opportunity to use this game to actually change the world for better. I hope you take that to heart, do something, we have incredible power in this room.”

Is Raheem Sterling the best winger on the planet?

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Raheem Sterling has now scored eight goals in his last eight appearances for England, and he put in a stunning display as they beat Kosovo 5-3 in an enthralling EURO 2020 qualifier in Southampton on Tuesday.

Sterling, 24, scored one and added three assists in the first half as his blistering pace ripped Kosovo to shreds and his newfound confidence in front of goal has been clear for all to see in the Premier League.

So far this season he’s scored eight goals in seven games for club and country, but many still believe he can improve his finishing and passing around the penalty box.

The improvement with his decision-making on the final pass or ball has been sensational since Pep Guardiola arrived as City’s manager and his current England boss Gareth Southgate believes he is now virtually unplayable.

“Our attacking play from Raheem, Jadon [Sancho] and Harry [Kane] was outstanding. Raheem’s two performances have been of the highest level,” Southgate said. “I think he’s been almost unstoppable, his awareness of where defenders were, his ability to ride challenges, his vision and desire to get in on goal, and unselfish play as well, so I couldn’t speak highly enough of the way he played.”

Kosovo manager Bernard Challandes also lavished praise on Sterling, saying he is now among the best players on the planet.

“It is impossible to play against him,” Challandes said. “I know Sterling in the past was very speedy but the last choice or shot was not good. Now he is incredible. He has learned a lot from Guardiola and is one of the best players in the world now.”

Aside from all of the wonderful things he is doing off the pitch, where does Sterling rank among the best wingers in the world right now?

In his position he is in the top five, there’s no doubt about that. Which other wingers have his output combined with the pace and power that frighten the life out of opposition defenders?

Kylian Mbappe is obviously the top man, but he often plays centrally for PSG and France, while Sterling’s teammates at City, Bernando Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sane, are also in the conversation. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are the main contenders to be crowned the top wide players on the planet, and Jadon Sancho, Sterling’s England teammate is a star in the making at the age of 19.

Sterling set up Sancho for his first two England goals on Tuesday and the duo support Kane superbly in attack for England. Sterling’s improved goal tally is important, but his understanding of the game under Guardiola, especially when it comes to when to make his runs forward, are perhaps his biggest improvement.

He is the main man for England right now. There is no doubt about that. And the fact he is only 24 and already has 53 caps to his name is frightening.

Sterling’s form for Man City has been consistently excellent, as he has scored 48 goals in 97 appearances in all competitions over the past two seasons.

That incredible return means Sterling has cemented himself into the conversation as being the best winger on the planet.