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"It was a massive surprise" - Raheem Sterling makes cryptic admission about Pep Guardiola relationship

Srinivas Sadhanand

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"It was a massive surprise" - Raheem Sterling makes cryptic admission about Pep Guardiola relationship

Featured Image Credit: Action Plus Sports Images / Alamy

Chelsea's Raheem Sterling has provided a peak through the curtain into the relationship he shared with Pep Guardiola and how an exit from Manchester City materialised this summer.

Sterling has played a standout role in Manchester City’s sustained success under Pep Guardiola since 2016.

There are many who would place him alongside the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker in spearheading what has been nothing short of an unprecedented era of dominance in English football.

The numbers paint a picture of just how key the prolific winger has been for the Premier League champions, especially under the Catalan.

Raheem Sterling and Pep Guardiola
Raheem Sterling and Pep Guardiola

The 27-year-old overtook the legendary Sergio Agüero as the top scorer in all competitions under Pep Guardiola’s regime at City last term, which goes to highlight how crucial Sterling has been during the club’s golden era.

As the Englishman made the switch to Chelsea this summer, it seems like him falling down the pecking order in his last two seasons at City ultimately tipped the balance in favour of an exit.

Coming off the back of an excellent 2019/20 campaign where he enjoyed his finest goalscoring season - with 31 strikes to his name across all competitions - it seemed like Raheem Sterling would have kicked on further the following year.

Raheem Sterling is set to be announced as Chelsea's first signing of the summer. (Alamy)
Raheem Sterling is set to be announced as Chelsea's first signing of the summer. (Alamy)

However, Sterling struggled to get a look in the side due to the form and consistency Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden showed in the wide areas.

“It was a big surprise. It was a massive surprise - a change of events all of a sudden," Sterling said in line of making his home debut for Chelsea against Tottenham this weekend.

"It’s something I had to handle and that’s why I’m here (Chelsea)," as quoted by Miguel Delaney of the Independent.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel greets Chelsea's Raheem Sterling following the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. (Alamy)
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel greets Chelsea's Raheem Sterling following the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. (Alamy)

With City operating largely in the absence of an out-and-out bagsman, Sterling was often asked to fill in down the middle - where he altogether failed to assert his dominance in key league and Champions League ties.

Sterling added: “Me and the manager (Pep Guardiola) and the people at the club know exactly what the reasons were.

"I tried to play my football and overcome the situation, but it couldn’t be done so I had to move on.”

After starring for England in their run to the European Championship final last summer, Pep Guardiola looked past Sterling more times than not in the first half of the previous campaign.

Raheem Sterling made his competitive debut against Everton. (Alamy)
Raheem Sterling made his competitive debut against Everton. (Alamy)

As Sterling approached the final 12 months of his Manchester City contract, the England international decided to part ways with City for regular game time.

City were understood to be keen on tying him down to a fresh deal but Sterling, 28 in December, decided to make a fresh start and lead Chelsea's charge for major trophies under Thomas Tuchel.

While Raheem Sterling may well be miffed with how things came to an end at the Etihad Stadium, it seems like both Manchester City and their former player were satisfied with eventually calling it quits.

Topics: Manchester City, Premier League, Raheem Sterling, Chelsea, Pep Guardiola, Thomas Tuchel, Champions League, Tottenham Hotspur

Srinivas Sadhanand
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