Pep Guardiola praises ‘incredible’ Raheem Sterling for confronting racism

The City boss has backed up his winger's claims about the portrayal of black footballers in the media and its link to racial abuse dished out from the stands. (AFP)
Updated 11 December 2018
0

Pep Guardiola praises ‘incredible’ Raheem Sterling for confronting racism

MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola has praised Manchester City star Raheem Sterling for refusing to be intimidated by the menace of racism in football.

Sterling endured alleged racial abuse from a Chelsea fan during City’s 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The 24-year-old was targeted by the supporter while he was standing near fans on the touchline.

Sterling appeared to laugh off the shocking incident at the time, but the abuse has drawn widespread condemnation amid fears the sport is being dragged back to the dark ages of the 1970s and 1980s when racism was rife.

The England winger later accused the media of fueling racism in the way it reports certain stories about black players.

And former England assistant coach Gary Neville revealed this week that Sterling complained during Euro 2016 of constant criticism from fans that carried racist undertones.

Speaking for the first time since the Chelsea incident, City manager Guardiola backed Sterling and hailed his decision to speak out on the controversy.

“I was concerned with what happened but he made a statement on Instagram and was quite clear about his thoughts,” Guardiola told reporters on Tuesday.

“He’s an incredible person, an incredible human being.

“It’s tough in the 21st century to still be in this position, to have problems with diversity. We have to be better, everyone.”

Guardiola believes racism is a deep problem in society, not just football, and insisted more must be done to combat it.

“It’s everywhere, racism is everywhere. People focus on football but it’s not just in football. You’d think in football we’d be safe but racism is everywhere,” he said.

“What happens today — how we treat immigrants and refugees, when once in our lives our grandfathers were refugees. It’s everywhere. That’s why we have to fight every day.

“We have to fight for human rights to make a better society for the future. Today it’s dangerous, not just in England, all across Europe.

“The message for the politicians is for them to be tough on human rights and we have to defend democracy in the best way.”

Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola also pointed out the media has a crucial role to play in keeping racism in check.

“Today the real power is the media, not politicians, not the governments. It’s the media,” he said.

The Metropolitan Police have launched an investigation into the Stamford Bridge incident, while Chelsea have suspended four supporters.

“I appreciate what Chelsea did,” Guardiola said. “If it happened in my club we should do the same.”

Guardiola, whose side host Hoffenheim in the Champions League on Wednesday, made it clear comments about players should restricted to performances on the field rather than straying into foul abuse.

“Hopefully the criticism is when he plays s***, he plays bad. That would be perfect. Everyone is exposed to that — the managers, the players, everyone around the world,” he said.

“But just for the color of his skin? Believe me, that’s ridiculous and that’s why everyone has to protect from that situation.”

Sterling’s team-mate Leroy Sane also believes the former Liverpool player has shown great dignity in dealing with the abuse.

“I think it’s sad this happens still. We all support Raheem and are on his side,” Sane said.

“He is a strong guy, a good guy. He can handle it and he is not letting it get him down.”


Pep Guardiola urges title calm after Manchester City edge closer after beating sorry United

Updated 25 April 2019
0

Pep Guardiola urges title calm after Manchester City edge closer after beating sorry United

  • Guardiola’s City have 89 points after 35 games
  • Title rivals Liverpool are just one point behind

MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola said both Manchester City and Liverpool deserve to win the Premier League title after his side brushed aside Manchester United 2-0 on Wednesday to top the table again.
Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane struck for the visitors in 12 second-half minutes at Old Trafford to inflict a seventh defeat in nine games on United, who remain three points adrift of the top four.
Guardiola’s City have 89 points after 35 games, with Liverpool a point behind. Both sides have just three games remaining.
“I understand the pressure we have and obviously here at Old Trafford with Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard running behind,” the City boss told Sky Sports. “I told them we needed to play to win, it doesn’t matter if we concede.
“Now we go to Burnley and we know how tough it will be. It’s important to be calm. We are still not champions with three gaurgesmes left — it’s incredible with the points we have and Liverpool have.
“I told the players don’t read tomorrow, don’t watch the television, just rest and sleep a lot and go in there against Burnley.”
“Both teams deserve the title,” he added. “But it can be just one. The team that is going to lose can’t have regrets because they have given everything. Normally with this kind of victory you can it enjoy it the most but we have to be calm.”