Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling has sat down with Spanish outlet AS, ahead of the Citizens’ Champions League fixture against La Liga giants Real Madrid. This interview has done the rounds on social media of late because the England international commented on rumours linking him with a switch to the Bernabéu.
But one point that has been mostly overlooked is what Sterling said about his former club Liverpool. He bemoans that City are “not treated with the same respect” as the Reds.
Elaborating on his point, the winger suggested there is favouritism towards his old team. “Especially in the last year where we have won the domestic quadruple including the league, to not have a player winning PFA Player of the Year kind of speaks for itself really,” he told AS.
“The award was given to a Liverpool player who had a fantastic season but I look at previous seasons as well when Yaya Touré scored 20 goals from midfield and he didn’t win Player of the Year.
“I think that certain players are not treated in the same way when they are from different football clubs across the country and across the world over the past few seasons.
“So, this year Liverpool win the league and a Liverpool player will win the Player of the Year for sure. We win the league for five times and we were not treated with the same respect.”
What Sterling has said about Liverpool is quite simply daft – since we started pulling away at the top of the Premier League table, all we’ve heard is LiVARpool this and LiVARpool that (and it’s not even justified).
Last season, Virgil van Dijk rightly won the PFA Player of the Year award. This was further vindicated by the centre-half finishing only a few votes behind Lionel Messi in the 2019 Ballon d’Or ranking.
I am convinced players such as Touré and Sergio Aguero should have received more individual awards in their respective careers, but it’s not as if other players didn’t also have incredible seasons.
In 2013/14, when Yaya netted 20 Premier League goals, Luis Suárez was named PFA Player of the Year in one of the most impressive individual seasons I’ve seen a Liverpool player have.
We finished that two points behind City that year, but looked like Champions-elect for 90% of the season – and, interestingly, this was while Sterling was still playing for us.
Player of the Year awards aren’t given to teams, they’re given to people, and what a club wins shouldn’t have an impact – van Dijk and Mohamed Salah thoroughly earned theirs, and should Sadio Mane or Jordan Henderson win it this year it’ll also be deserved.
And, for the sake of clarity, should Kevin De Bruyne be named PFA Player of the Year for 2020, it’ll be deserved too.