Jamaican-born Raheem Sterling becomes England’s most expensive soccer star

Sterling, who this week completed a £49 million (US$76.2 million) move from Liverpool to Manchester City, is set to earn £200,000 (US$311,248) per week after signing a five-year contract at the club which will earn him over £50 million (US$77.8 million) – around £10 million (US$15.5 million) a year – during the course of his stay at the two-time Premier League winner.

Not bad for a youngster who was born to poverty in Jamaica, where he was the product of a broken home. When he was nine years old, his father was shot dead.

By that time Raheem was living in one of North-West London’s worst areas after arriving in Britain, with his mother and three siblings, at the age of five.

He went on to suffer behavioural problems and was subsequently moved to a school for difficult children.

According to a Daily Mail report, a teacher once predicted he would either end up as a professional footballer or languish as a convict in jail.

Fortunately, living so close to Wembley inspired him to become a footballer and he signed for Queen’s Park Rangers before being snapped up by Liverpool, making his debut for the world-famous club at the tender age of 15 while on half-term holiday. Five years later, he has been capped 16 times for England.

The latest episode in Sterling’s meteoric rise to fame was reportedly made because he could not resist the lure of joining Manchester City’s world class squad.

“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,” he told Manchester City’s club website.

“There’s everything you need to take you to the next level so there’s no excuses. The world-class players that are here and a squad capable of winning things year in, year out.

“It’s a good feeling and a 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 Telegraph reports that paying such a huge fee for an emerging talent has been a source of debate since Liverpool concluded negotiations with City on Sunday, but City manager Manuel Pellegrini is in no doubt about Sterling’s potential.

“Raheem Sterling is one of the best attacking players in world football,” said the Chilean, who has handed the winger the number seven jersey. “He is a young player with outstanding ability, and I am sure the Manchester City fans will be very excited about seeing him in action for the team”

Meanwhile, although Sterling’s Anfield exit was acrimonious, he reserved praise for three of his ex-managers.

“It has been a long journey from QPR and I’d like to thank a few people who have helped me along the way,” he said.

“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.

“Finally I’d like 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.

“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.”

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