‘Nobody can compare with Ronaldo or Messi’ – Guardiola urges Sterling to ignore big billing

Lionel Messi Raheem Sterling Cristiano Ronaldo
The Manchester City winger has been likened to two global superstars, but his club manager wants the England international to focus on his own game

Raheem Sterling has been urged by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola to ignore the comparisons he has drawn with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The England international continues to star for club and country, with the goals coming thick and fast.

Sterling has found the target on five occasions in the Premier League this season, while taking his tally of efforts in Euro 2020 qualifying to six.

Having become a destructive presence in a wide role which allows him to drift along the front line, the 24-year-old has been likened to two five-time Ballon d’Or winners.

Plaudits have rained down on the former Liverpool man, but Guardiola wants to see Sterling avoid getting caught up in the hype and remain focused on maintaining his current standards.

The City boss told reporters: “I’m so happy for him, for the way he’s playing here and national team, but hopefully he won’t read or listen to these kind of things.

“Nobody can compare with Cristiano or Messi.

“I don’t know if he's the best in England. Since we're together, not just now, he’s been incredible with his work ethic. He's a nice guy, I’m delighted for him.”

Pep Guardiola Manchester City 2019-20

Sterling has taken his game to new heights since Guardiola arrived at the Etihad Stadium.

He has recorded 48 goals for City across the last two seasons and will be looking to complete a hat-trick of 20-plus campaigns in 2019-20.

There will also be a desire on his part to add to a trophy haul which has seen him help City to become a dominant force in the English domestic game.

The Blues, along with Liverpool, are considered to be a long way ahead of their Premier League rivals, but Guardiola is not buying that despite seeing his team claim an historic treble last season.

He said: “I’m not predicting, every week there are incredible predictions, there’s a tendency for that but we’ve played four Premier League games and that’s nothing.

“We start the real competition, we play Saturday, then travel, play Wednesday, land Thursday, Saturday we have Premier League and then we go to Preston to play the Carabao Cup.

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“Of the next five games we’ve got four away, many things can happen, we’ve had two terrible injuries with Leroy [Sane] and Aymeric [Laporte].

“It’s too early to say what is going to happen. Chelsea, United, Tottenham, Everton doing well, everything can happen, but it’s four games, in February or March we can say better. Now it’s just four games and it’s nothing.”

City, who have dropped just two points so far in 2019-20, will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to injury-plagued Norwich.