Barcelona legend Xavi believes Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling can become the “best in the world” once Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo stop dominating.
Sterling has blossomed under Xavi’s former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, scoring 25 goals last season and adding six already this term.
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The Spanish midfielder played alongside Messi at the Nou Camp and feels Sterling is on course to succeed the Argentinian as the world’s best footballer.
Xavi told The Mirror: “Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the best-player-in-the-world awards for so many years now, it’s hard to remember a time before them.
“Messi is the best ever for me – and even though they’re both still playing at a very high level – there will come the day not so long away when somebody else must step into those shoes.
“You look at young players who can be crowned the future best in the world and you still think of Neymar, Mbappe, Salah, and of course Sterling. I look at the moment – and Sterling is winning that race.”
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Sterling, 24, burst onto the scene as a teenage star for Liverpool before a quiet first couple of years at City, but he has started to fulfil his potential since Guardiola took charge.
“He’s always been a good player, a dangerous player, but under Pep he has become one of the best in the world,” added Xavi.