Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has spoken of his pride at watching the “exceptional” Raheem Sterling grow at the club.
The 24-year-old was signed by City in 2015, but has taken his game to new heights since Pep Guardiola arrived at the club.
His talismanic status has also transitioned to the national side where he is seen as a leader with England.
Sterling has been a hugely influential figure off the pitch having been outspoken in his fight against racism which has impressed many – not least the man who helped bring him to Manchester.
“I’m very proud of what Raheem has done over the last couple of years,” Al Mubarak told Sky Sports.
“His evolution as a player, but more importantly as a person, I think has been exceptional.
“He has become a leader, both on and off the pitch, he’s become a leader in this squad at Manchester City , he’s becoming a leader at England serving his country, and a leader in the community.
“I’m so happy for him, I think he’s a wonderful young man and…one thing I’m sure of, Raheem is only going to improve and only going to grow as both a player and a leader, so the future is very bright for Raheem and it’s a pleasure to have him as part of the team.”
City are looking to ensure Sterling remains at City for the long-term and have been in discussions over a contract extension.
The winger only signed a new deal 12 months ago which will keep him at the Etihad until 2023 and see him pocket up to £300,000-a-week.
But the Premier League champions want to tie him down for even longer such is his importance under Guardiola.
Sterling has scored 62 goals since the beginning of the 2017/18 season and last term was named the FWA Player of the Year.