Rio Ferdinand has claimed that Raheem Sterling is now one of the top five players in world football after his 11-minute second-half hat-trick in Manchester City’s 5-1 Champions League thrashing of Atalanta.
Sterling‘s scintillating performance capped a fine comeback after two Sergio Aguero goals had cancelled out Ruslan Malinovskyi’s penalty opener at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
City’s victory maintained their 100 per cent record in the competition and put them within touching distance of the last 16 as they moved five points clear at the top of Group C.
“He’s in the top five players in the world now, definitely,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “I don’t care who you want to mention, the five top players – he’s got to be in that conversation.
“Because the amount of goals he’s getting, the effect he’s having on games. It’s impossible to keep him out.
“They don’t get the numbers. They don’t get the goals and assists and effect games the way this guy is doing at the moment.
“Every game he’s creating three or four chances whether it’s a pass or a shot at goal. His running off the ball his pound for pound strength is ridiculous.
“He’s resilient in terms of taking tackles and staying fit. These defenders are going to go back to Italy and say ‘have you heard about Raheem Sterling?’
“I’d say at the moment Mane is in that conversation. You’ve got Mohamed Salah and Kevin de Bruyne.
“This guy he’s just scoring goals. I love everything about him his attitude his humility.”