Raheem Sterling has said he would have no issue meeting the Chelsea fan who was handed a lifetime ban for racially abusing him in 2018, saying he has "no hatred or malice towards the individual." The incident occurred during an encounter between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge in which the away side won 2-0, however the game was overshadowed by events off the pitch.
The club handed a lifetime ban to one individual and sanctioned five others, however no criminal charges were brought due to a lack of evidence to suggest the language used was racially motivated.
Sterling took to Instagram after the match to challenge the reporting of young black and white players, and commented on the incident saying he laughed because he "don't expect no better."
What did Sterling say at the time?
Would Sterling meet abuser after Chelsea transfer?
Sterling, who completed a £47.5 million ($58m) transfer from Manchester City to Chelsea in July, has suggested that he would be prepared to meet the individual in question saying to The Sun: "That’s something that I could do right here, right now or tomorrow. That’s not an issue."
He explained how he believed the incident opened his eyes to what else he could achieve besides football. He said: "I think that conversation opened the door for me personally in the sense it made me understand what my true purpose is other than football.
"Of course, football is my main goal and my main talent, but it's the other thing that gives me the most joy. That’s helping people. So from that incident, I’ve moved away from the racial side of it and am focused more on helping and nurturing young black people."
Quizzed on whether he had given any thought to the incident in question before opting to make a move to west London, the England international forward said: “No, that’s the first time I’ve actually even remembered it.
“It wasn’t a thing that played on my mind at all.
“I can’t let an incident from individuals change my perception of the club.”