A decade later he would buy his mother a multi-million pound house, a day he describes as “probably the happiest I’ve ever been”.
“If anyone deserves to be happy, it’s my mom,” she wrote in 2018. “She came to this country with nothing and went through school cleaning bathrooms and changing sheets, and now she’s the director of a nursing home. And his son plays for England. “
Sterling also credits Clive Ellington for turning his life around. Part mentor and part point guard, Ellington recalls seeing Sterling play for the first time and thought “either the guys he plays with are really poor or he’s really good.”
Ellington introduced Sterling to the coaches of his local football club and he was signed by the great west London club Queens Park Rangers at age 11. He signed with Liverpool four years later, but his fickle style of play ensured that he was the first to be praised if his team scored a lot of goals and criticized a lot if he didn’t.
He then jumped to Man City in 2015 in a controversial deal worth up to £ 49 million – the largest fee City has ever paid for an English player.
The joy of financial success was repeatedly soured by the British tabloid press, which now hails Sterling as a hero, but for years sought to frame him as an overly flashy and entitled braggart, motivated solely by money.
The successes were strong and fast during 2016, 2017 and 2018. Under the title ‘OBSCENE RAHEEM’, Sun he attacked the player for taking his friends on a tour of the house he bought for his mother and ridiculed the “fancy glass-studded sink” in the bathroom.
The Daily star mocked his “dirty £ 50k Mercedes”. Sterling came to wonder if the negative coverage blitz was a code for people who were unhappy that a young black man had a right to wealth.
As attacks on his salary and expenses escalated, Sterling was also teased for being too frugal shopping in Poundland, flying easyJet, and sourcing some clothing from Primark.
Sterling has also had direct encounters with racism-fueled violence. He was walking home from school in Liverpool one day when a young man called out his full name as if he knew it from his growing sporting fame and asked to speak. As Sterling approached, the man called the footballer an “n —–” and gave him a head butt.
“I took care of the rest,” Sterling told Tony Blair’s former spinning physician Alastair Campbell in a 2019 interview for GQ magazine. “He regret”.
He was also assaulted outside of Manchester City training ground in December 2017 by a bully who later pleaded guilty to racially aggravated common battery. Karl Anderson walked up to Sterling, called him a “black duckling,” said he expected his mother and son to “wake up dead in the morning” and kicked the player four times.
A low point in press coverage occurred when Sun posted a cover in 2018 under the caption ‘Ace’s New Sickly Tattoo – Raheem Shoots Himself In The Foot’ accompanied by a large image of a new M16 assault rifle tattoo on his right leg.
Sterling explained on Instagram that the tattoo was about his murdered father: “I made a promise to myself that I would never touch a gun in my life. I shoot with the right foot so that it has a deeper meaning. “
Sterling also has the Wembley Arch that he saw built as a kid tattooed on his arm.
By the end of 2018, Sterling had had a bad omen and decided to tackle the newspapers head-on. Citing the brilliant treatment the Daily mail offered a white player who bought his mother a house compared to the less favorable coverage of Tosin Adarabioyo, who also bought a property from his mother and turns out to be black, Sterling said: “The young black man is seen in a bad light , helping fuel racism and aggressive behavior.
“So for all the newspapers that don’t understand why people are racist in this day and age, all I have to say is think twice about fair publicity and give all players the same opportunities.”
His intervention was an important moment in football’s confrontation with its racial issues, although even Sterling’s strongest supporters would grant an unflattering coverage legitimately focused on his irregular form during England’s ill-fated Euro 2016 campaign and the World Cup. 2018 world.
When even some of his own team’s fans booed him at games, Sterling called himself “The Hated One.”
Three years later, alongside England coach Gareth Southgate, he is hailed as an inspiring social leader in a country where leadership has long been lacking, and where the black community urgently needs a powerful voice.
How things have changed. A win against Italy at Wembley on Sunday would likely cement his emerging status as The Chosen One.