Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has revealed his admiration for Paris Saint-Germain and in particular Neymar, praising the Brazilian’s “winner’s mentality”.
Neymar again made the headlines Wednesday when he scored a fine goal during PSG’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool in the Champions League.
That was his 31st goal in the competition, moving him ahead of Kaka to become Brazil’s all-time leading scorer in the Champions League.
However, the 26-year-old was also criticised by some Liverpool players for his perceived theatrics during the game at the Parc des Princes, claiming he went to ground too easily in an attempt to waste time in the second half.
The Brazilian has developed an unfortunate reputation for going down too easily and his antics in midweek reignited a debate about whether it should be considered cheating or simply gamesmanship.
It seems Sterling feels it is the latter, with the England international admitting he is a fan of Neymar’s attitude.
“I like watching Paris Saint-Germain. What I really like about Neymar is every time he loses the ball, or tries something, he goes again. He doesn’t get disheartened. He has that winner’s mentality,” Sterling told The Times.
“Watching Neymar against Liverpool [in midweek], you’ve got the ball at the edge of his box, and he’s straight at you, trying to win the ball. He does do a lot of tricks but he does his tricks at the right time, for instance at the end of the game, the flick over the head, the rainbow [against Xherdan Shaqiri].”
Sterling is now joint top-scorer in the Premier League after netting his eighth goal of the season against Bournemouth on Saturday.
The 23-year-old has flourished since moving to Etihad Stadium from Liverpool in 2015, particularly since the arrival of manager Pep Guardiola the following year.
Sterling was rewarded for his impressive displays last month with a new contract keeping at the club until the summer of 2023.
The winger says there was never any doubt about committing his future to the Premier League champions and has praised Guardiola for improving his game.
“Signing was a no-brainer,” he added. “The development of the last couple of years and with the manager being there again for numerous years and the players we have got, I will keep developing and keep getting better.
“Once upon a time, every time I got the ball I wanted to come inside, chop, turn and go at people, but it is knowing when to turn, when to do these things, and that’s why the manager is so good, he helps with my decision-making,
“He keeps telling us that, if we want to be the best team, the best players, we have to perform every game, not just in the league, but when the EFL Cup comes you have to perform in that, when the Champions League comes you have to perform in that, the FA Cup, perform, compete.”