Raheem Sterling says Chelsea have restored their happiness in football after being left furious, enraged and shocked by the end of his Manchester City career.
Sterling completed a £47.5million move to Stamford Bridge in July after seven trophy-laden seasons at Manchester where he scored 131 goals in 339 appearances and won four Premier League titles, four League Cups and one FA Cup.
In his final season at the Etihad Stadium, the 27-year-old England international featured 30 times in City’s title-winning campaign, but only 23 of those were starts, leading Sterling to conclude that his sacrifices didn’t count. were not reciprocated.
“Everyone wants to feel wanted, football is no different,” Sterling exclusively told Geoff Shreeves ahead of Chelsea. great sunday trip to Leeds United – live on Sky sports.
“When you play hard, sacrifice some of your kids’ birthdays, and then get treated a certain way, it’s disappointing.
“At the time I was furious, furious, but that’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 have. I’m here to come out and show off my skills once again.”
Pressed on the main factors behind his decision to swap Manchester City for Chelsea, Sterling said: “Misunderstandings, contracts ending. It was a shame how it ended up in the end because that I had such a good time there.
“A lot of things came into play, a lot of reasons, but I wasn’t complaining, I was up for the challenge and as you can see even with some of the performances I put in you couldn’t not guarantee you a spot so it just didn’t make sense to fight a battle you could never win.”
Sterling: I found my happiness
Asked if he’s gotten to the point where, after giving his all, his situation at Manchester City has become untenable and the time has come to leave, Sterling replied: “Yeah, that was literally it. .”
He continued: “As a player you always want to do your best and help your team, but when you think things aren’t going right it’s always a disappointment.
“If you’re not happy playing football, you have to look for other options to get that happiness back, and that’s exactly what I did. It was the right time for me to move on. I wouldn’t be part of something that I knew I couldn’t give my all to.
“This [City] is a fantastic club, it’s a club that wins a lot of trophies, it’s a club that has helped me massively to improve in the last two years, but there comes a time when you have to think about yourself, about what is best for you, and what you want for the future. It’s the only reason I’m here [at Chelsea].”
Sterling: Chelsea move ‘a blessing in disguise’
The move to Chelsea saw Sterling become the first marquee signing of new owner Todd Boehly’s era at Stamford Bridge, and the striker revealed proof the club were delivering on their promises convinced him he was the club for him.
“That was their intention, how they approached me,” Sterling explained. “I wasn’t listening to promises, I was seeing action and I think that was one of the factors that made me really consider the football club, the way they showed me how much I could have an important role here.
“Looking back at what they’ve achieved here over the past two years, the finals they’ve missed, the new owner taking over, it’s a team that’s still competing on all fronts and I knew it would only get better. I don’t need to make another choice.
“It was a possibility that I wouldn’t pass up. It’s a blessing in disguise, it’s another challenge and a challenge that I will come back to at the end of my career and I know that I took over and I can be happy with myself.
“Most of the time it was just playing football week in and week out. It was the first time in my career that I experienced that, it was a bit of a shock, so I just wanted to get back to playing and enjoying it. my football again. It was as simple as that, and I knew that once I could do that, I could be happy and show it on the pitch.”