Ex-Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta has claimed that Raheem Sterling did a ‘great job’ for the club but falls short of being considered a legend.
Sterling won four Premier League titles and numerous other domestic trophies in seven seasons as a City player prior to his summer transfer to Chelsea. He also scored 131 times in 339 appearances, including 31 goals in all competitions during the 2019/20 season alone.
Despite that success, Zabaleta suggested it isn’t enough for legend status. Instead, the Argentine pointed to others who were at City for longer.
“I think the word ‘legend’ is a bit overused in football,” Zabaleta told Sky Sports when asking if Sterling deserves to be remembered in that category in east Manchester.
“He’s done a great job for the club. He came at a very young age and has been absolutely brilliant. When I say legend, for me, [Sergio] Aguero, [David] Silva, [Vincent] Kompany, those guys and a different level. That is why they have statues outside the stadium.”
Zabaleta also hinted that Sterling, who was seen refusing to sign a City shirt for a fan while on Chelsea’s pre-season tour, has lacked respect for old club since his departure.
“Raheem has been great. We wish him all the best. He went to a team that is a big contender for the Premier League. But Man City is always the most important thing for the fans and players,” the retired full-back commented.
“When you come to the club, you have to give 100% respect and the moment you leave, you have to talk nicely to the club you’ve been playing for. I wish he could behave in that way.”