Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says Raheem Sterling will show exactly where his loyalties lie against Real Madrid on Wednesday night. The City winger raised eyebrows at the club when posing with a Real Madrid shirt in an interview with a Spanish newspaper last week.
But after showing Guardiola that he is fully recovered from the hamstring strain which ruled him out of two matches, City’s manager cannot wait to unleash him at the Bernebeu.
“Raheem is fit and his regeneration (from injury) is amazing” Guardiola said. “He said to us he could have played against West Ham, Leicester but the doctor said be careful, muscular injury is three weeks or one month. He wanted to play and that’s a good sign. He’s fit he’s ready.”
Sterling left the door open on playing for Real Madrid in the interview with AS which pictured him with their shirt draped over his shoulder.
The forward insisted he was happy and under contract at City but refused to rule out a possible move in the future.
“Right now I’m at City and I’m really happy. But I say Real Madrid are a fantastic club,” Sterling said.
“When you see the white shirt you know exactly what the club stands for, it’s massive.”
Sterling then went on to hail Real manager Zinedine Zidane, saying: “I think to win the Champions League so many times especially in a row as well is very difficult.
“I don’t think that’s luck, it’s definitely a formula. Some people have that winning mentality and he wins by any means.
“I’d say it’s something he has probably developed over his great career as a player and he’s developing his career as a manager so it continues this winning touch.”
The timing of the interview, just days before City’s biggest game of the season against Real, privately infuriated many at City.
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But a top class performance from the striker will do much to soothe tensions.
Sergio Ramos suggested City may take extra motivation from the possible Champions League ban ahead of their clash on Wednesday night.
“Obviously it’s bad news for the players that want to keep playing in the competition but it is also a good way for them to have motivation and to want to show what they’re capable of,” Ramos said.
“Perhaps when they return in 3 years perhaps they will want to win more than ever.”
But both Guardiola and David Silva insisted City needed no extra motivation from UEFA’s sanctions relating to breaches of Financial Fair Play rules.
“We need no extra motivation to play against Real Madrid in the Champions League,” said Silva.
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