'These days it would be Ronaldo or Messi' - Taarabt reveals Sterling idolised him at QPR

Comments()
Getty Images
The two players' paths crossed briefly at Loftus Road, with the England international looking up to his then senior teammate

Adel Taarabt has revealed he was idolised by Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling during their time together at Queens Park Rangers.

Taarabt spent six years at Loftus Road after joining, initially on loan, from Tottenham in 2009, going on to make 164 appearances for the club.

His first year in west London coincided with Sterling’s time at QPR’s academy, before he was signed by Rafael Benitez and Liverpool in February 2010.

Such was the impact he made at the club, Taarabt, now at Portuguese side Benfica, says a teenage Sterling looked up to him.

"Raheem Sterling texted me a few months ago. I was listening to an interview where he said I was his idol at QPR," he told FourFourTwo.

"These days it would be Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, but when he was a kid he watched me!"

Taarabt went on to win the Championship Player of the Year award in 2010-11 as QPR won the second tier title to earn promotion to the Premier League.

However, the 30-year-old struggled to maintain that impressive form in the top flight and was sent out on loan to Fulham and Milan before moving to Benfica in 2015.

The Morocco international admits he has some regrets about how his career has panned out given the potential he feels he had as a young player.

"I don't like to say this about myself, but I think if you talked to everyone who saw me when I was a young talent, many would have said I'd play for Real Madrid or Barcelona one day. Even Luka Modric said that to me once," he added. 

"But it didn't happen. Not only because of others, but because of me."

Article continues below

Sterling, meanwhile, broke into the Liverpool first-team under Brendan Rodgers in 2012, earning England recognition the same year, before moving to Manchester City for an initial £44 million ($54.3m) in the summer of 2015.

He has since thrived at Etihad Stadium, particularly under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola following the Spaniard’s arrival as manager in 2016.

He has scored 75 goals in 195 appearances, helping the club win six trophies including back-to-back Premier League titles.

Close