Both players arrived at the Etihad in the summer of 2016, with De Bruyne keen to shed his ‘Chelsea reject’ tag and Sterling eager to show he isn’t just a ‘flash guy’.
De Bruyne and Sterling’s Etihad turnaround: Five things to know…
- De Bruyne and Sterling both joined Manchester City in 2016.
- The former was looking to lose his ‘Chelsea reject’ tag, while Sterling was accused of money grabbing after leaving Liverpool.
- The pair have a combined 230 goals and assists between them in 354 City appearances.
- De Bruyne admitted he thought Sterling would be a ‘d*ckhead’ before joining City.
- He now believes the England international is ‘one of the nicest guys in football’.
And although they now have both achieved their goals and formed a great relationship on and off the pitch, De Bruyne wasn’t so sure of the England international before meeting him.
“Before I came to Manchester City, I didn’t really know what to make of this Raheem Sterling guy. I had never met him, and from what I’d read about him, I thought he was going to be a very different character,” he told the Players’ Tribune.
“I didn’t think he’d be a bad guy, really. But the tabloids were always claiming that he was arrogant. So I guess I thought he’d be … what do the English call it? A bit of a d*******, maybe?”
However, it didn’t take long for Sterling to change De Bruyne’s opinion of him, with the Belgian admitting his teammate is ‘one of the nicest, most humble guys in football’.
He added: “Over time, I got closer to Raheem, because our sons were born around the same time, so they would always play together. He couldn’t be more different from what the tabloids were saying.
“This is the real truth: Raheem is one of the nicest, most humble guys I’ve met in football.”
Sterling: Title race will go to the wire
Sterling scored twice during City’s 3-1 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday to briefly send them top of the table before Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Chelsea saw the two sides switch places once again.
City still have a game in hand over their title rivals but Sterling still expects the battle for the Premier League to go ‘down to the wire’, with neither side relenting recently.
“Yes, 100 per cent, the way Liverpool have been playing it will go down to the wire,” he said.
“I don’t see us slowing down now. Liverpool have a great squad, great self-belief, but so do we.”
City’s next Premier League game is at home to Spurs on Saturday while Liverpool travel to Cardiff on the following day.