Raheem Sterling has backed former club Manchester City to round off their impressive campaign by achieving a historic Treble.
The Etihad outfit face Inter Milan in Saturday’s Champions League final, having already tasted Premier League and FA Cup success.
Sterling spent seven years at City, winning the league four times, and lifting the FA Cup and League Cup.
But the Champions League eluded the England winger and his team, with defeat to Chelsea — his current club — in 2021 the closest they came.
Manchester United are the only other English club to have achieved the Treble, back in 1999, and Sterling told Arab News exclusively: “I hope City do it.
“They’re a club that’s been fighting for the Champions League from my time there for many years and I think they are a club that deserves it.
“The quality that they have, they have been unlucky in previous years.
They’ve got the Premier League (and FA Cup) now and hopefully they can actually get the Champions League and finish it all off.”
The 28-year-old, who scored 131 goals for City — including 24 in the Champions League — before leaving for Chelsea last summer, added: “For me, it’s been the same at this club. First season I was there until now, it’s about consistency.
“For me, they are the best team — they’ve been the best for the last five, six years.
“I knew when I was leaving City, I knew they would be challenging or winning titles. They’re a great club, they’re the example for everyone in the Premier League.”
City have been contenders for European club football’s biggest prize since 2016 when they reached the semifinals under Manuel Pellegrini, but lost 1-0 on aggregate in the semis to Real Madrid.
Heartbreak has since followed for Pep Guardiola’s team, including a 2019 quarter-final tie with Tottenham Hotspur where Sterling had a dramatic injury-time goal disallowed by VAR.
It would have proved the winner, but Spurs instead went through on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate scoreline.
In last season’s semifinals, City conceded two goals in the 90th minute as Real Madrid forced extra time and then snatched a 5-4 aggregate success.
“They have had unlucky times in the past, but now they have got the luck and that’s all they needed,” added Sterling of City’s bid for a first European Cup.
“When we lost the final two years ago, it was hard but that’s gone, it’s in the past now. Hopefully they get across the line this time. Now they’ve got the big one to come and I believe they will do it.”