Raheem Sterling extolls Man City’s ‘world class squad’ after Liverpool move
Raheem Sterling says joining a "world class squad" was his main motive behind joining Manchester City, while he has thanked Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.
Sterling finally sealed his £49 million ($76 million) move to the Etihad on Tuesday on a five-year deal after a long-running transfer saga.
City failed with two initial bids — the first reportedly around £25m ($39m) and the second believed to be £40m ($63m) — before finally agreeing a fee with the Reds over the weekend.
Liverpool legend and Sterling’s former captain Steven Gerrard was vocally critical of the 20-year-old’s actions in securing a transfer, while police are also investigating abuse directed at Sterling via social media.
But the winger, who becomes the most-expensive English footballer in history, said he was "just glad it’s all over", and revealed the "world class squad" at City was the main lure for his move.
Speaking to Manchester City’s official website, the England international said: "It’s a good feeling and this is really happy time for me and my family. I’m just glad it’s all over and done with and I can’t wait to get on the training field.
"The thing that excites me the most is the world class squad we have and knowing we have a team that is capable of winning things year in, year out. The more quality players that are around you, the more quality it brings out in you so I can’t wait to get started and play alongside them.
Sterling revealed he had spoken to new team-mate and fellow England star Joe Hart ahead of the move, before going on to thank figures throughout his career – including QPR, who will net around £9.8m ($15m) of the £49m fee.
"I spoke to Joe briefly on the last England trip. He just told me what a really good football club this is and how nice the fans are – nothing too serious, but it was a bit of a heads up.
"It has been a long journey from QPR and I’d like to thank a few people who have helped me along the way.
"I’d like to thank Rafa Benitez for taking me to Liverpool as a 15 year-old – that was a massive step for me and a new challenge. Also to Kenny Dalglish for showing such faith in me and putting me in at such a young age."
Sterling also reserved thanks for Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, despite reports claiming the Northern Irishman was one of his motives for wishing to leave.
"I want to thank Brendan Rodgers for giving me a chance and an opportunity in the first team, giving me my full debut – against City funnily enough – and giving me a real chance to cement a place in the first team and show the world my talents.
"Finally, I’d also like to thank all the people around me – my mum and sisters, my management team and Aidy Ward for helping me focus and get where I am today. I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone."