Raheem Sterling has said he was left fuming by the way his Manchester City career came to an end.
The 27-year-old moved to Chelsea for £47.5m in July after spending seven hugely successful seasons at the Etihad Stadium.
But his final season at City was more challenging than many he’d faced in the past, as Pep Guardiola reduced his starting time in favour of greater squad rotation. As a result, Sterling started just 23 of the 30 Premier League games he played, and he played less minutes during 2021/22 than he had in the previous five years.
That left Sterling, speaking in an interview with Sky Sports ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Leeds United, to question some of the sacrifices he’d made during his career, and he also opened up on his disappointment about how things went downhill at City.
“Everyone wants to feel wanted, football is no different,” Sterling said. “When you play your heart out, sacrifice some of your kids’ birthdays, and then get treated in a certain way, it’s disappointing.
“At the time I was fuming, raging, but it’s gone, it’s in the past and I can only focus on the present, which is now, here at Chelsea, and the opportunity I’ve got here to go out and showcase my talents once again.
“Misunderstandings, contracts running down. It was a shame to see how it ended because I had such a great time there.
“A lot of things came into play, a lot of reasons, but I wasn’t complaining, I was ready to challenge and, as you can see, even with some of the performances I put in, you couldn’t guarantee yourself a place so it just didn’t make sense to fight a battle you can never win.”
Pressed on whether he’d simply come to the end of his journey at City, Sterling said: “Yes, it was literally that.
“As a player you always want to do your best and help your team, but when you don’t think things are going fairly, it’s always a disappointment.
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“If you are not happy playing your football you’ve got to look at other options to get that happiness back, and that’s exactly what I have done. It was the right time for me to move on. I wouldn’t stay part of something I knew I couldn’t give my all in.
“It [City] is a fantastic club, it’s a club that wins lots of trophies, it’s a club that has helped my development massively in the past couple of years, but there comes a time when you’ve got to think about yourself, what’s best for yourself, and what you want for the future. That’s the sole reason why I am here [at Chelsea].”