Raheem Sterling has opened up on the death of his father, being hit with a belt at school in Jamaica and how Pep Guardiola motivates him after being picked as the cover star of August’s edition of GQ magazine.
The Manchester City forward, who also reveals that he is only close with a handful of his team-mates in a wide-ranging interview, is pictured with enormous black wings in a stunning shot for the front cover.
The striking image shows Sterling shirtless with a large chain around his neck and standing with his legs wide apart.
Raheem Sterling features as the cover star of GQ’s August edition wearing black angel wings
Feathered wings unfurl behind him and the 24-year-old is also kitted out in jeans, combat boots, a watch and a bracelet.
In another image, the England international has a fur-lined trench coat draped from his shoulders as he glares into the camera lens.
The words ‘Guardian Angel’ accompany Sterling’s picture on the front cover and in an interview for the magazine, which is available from Friday, he opened up on a variety of topics.
Sterling grew up in Jamaica and his absent father was murdered when he was two-years-old. Three years later the youngster moved to London.
He told GQ: ‘Sometimes it’s tough, but everything happens for a reason.
‘Now, having my own kids, I make sure I give them that love from the father figure that I didn’t have. And I think that’s probably helped me feel better as well.
The Manchester City and England star opened up in an interview on a number of topics
RAHEEM STERLING’S CAREER CV
Premier League title:
‘At first it was tough. You know, school was different. I kind of got away with more in school here, but when I was in Jamaica it was zero tolerance. Belts.
‘I think the government over there has brought that down now, but there were times it was brutal.’
Sterling has developed into one of Europe’s most lethal attacking players and his game took another leap forward last season under Pep Guardiola as City won the domestic treble.
Speaking about their relationship and his boss’ tough love approach to coaching, he said: ‘He has challenged me, never let me be comfortable. Every year he has bought a new winger.
‘So for me it’s like, “Cool. OK. I’ve done OK.” And now, the last season, he’s just got another one.
Sterling was also kitted out in a fur-lined trenchcoat that was draped over his shoulders
‘He’s demanding, but it’s good. It makes you want to do better and – I don’t know how to explain this – makes you want to prove to him and show him every time you go on the field you’re playing for your position in his team, because of the numbers we have and the quality we have as well.’
Having played 51 games over the course of last season, scoring 25 goals along the way, there is no doubting Sterling’s importance to the English champions.
He is a popular figure in the dressing room and won plenty of fans in the last 12 months for leading the fight against persistent racism blighting football.
Interestingly, Sterling confesses that he does not share many close friendships with team-mates at City and prefers to hang around with those outside the game’s insulating bubble.
The 24-year-old has flourished under the guidance of Pep Guardiola over the past two years
Sterling is currently enjoying some time off before he returns to pre-season this month
When asked how many close friends he has at the club, he said: ‘To be honest, probably three or four. And I don’t think it’s stay in contact as in seeing them every summer of something.
STERLING’S 2018-19 SEASON STATS
‘It’s probably once in a while: “How are you doing?” It’s hard to get close with your team-mates….
‘We all do the same thing and I like to be around my friends that are normal guys. The one thing I can’t take is the ego. I like people that are just chilled. I’m not saying every player is, but everyone has their little diva moment.’
With plenty of years left in him, the diminutive winger is likely to add to his already healthy trophy haul and has shown a burning desire for success since leaving the QPR academy for Liverpool and then pushing for a move from Anfield in 2015.
The England international has reached new heights for club and country in the last 12 months
‘When I got into Liverpool I said if I haven’t won the Premier League by the time I’m 21 I need to look at my options and see what I’m doing there,’ he added.
‘I put that into place from a young age. And I came to City and won my first Premier League. It’s just good to know what I’ve set out to do – what we’ve set out as a team to do – is going as planned.’
Sterling is currently enjoying a hard earned break before pre-season begins again later this month.
The full interview can be seen in the August issue of British GQ, available on newsstands and digital download on Friday 5th July 2019. www.gq.co.uk