Rio Ferdinand makes Eden Hazard & Philippe Coutinho claim as Raheem Sterling runs riot with Champions League hat-trick

Raheem Sterling scored three times in Manchester City’s crushing 5-1 win over Atalanta in the Champions League (Picture: Getty)

Raheem Sterling cemented his position as one of the top five players in world football after his Champions League masterclass against Atalanta, according to Rio Ferdinand.

The England international continued his scintillating form with a devastating hat-trick during City’s crushing 5-1 win over Atalanta at the Etihad Stadium.

Sterling struck three times is a mesmeric 11-minute second half burst, having also won the penalty which allowed Sergio Aguero to hand the Premier League champions the lead after they had fallen behind early on.

‘He’s in the top five players in the world now, definitely,’ Ferdinand told BT Sport.

‘I don’t care who you want to mention, the five top players – he’s got to be in that conversation.

‘Because the amount of goals he’s getting, the effect he’s having on games. It’s impossible to keep him out.’ understands City are keen to hand Sterling, who has now scored 37 goals since the start of the last season, a new contract in a bid to guard against his value rocketing should he enjoy a stellar Euro 2020 campaign with England.

Were City forced to sell their prize asset, Ferdinand is confident he would fetch well in excess of the fees Barcelona and Real Madrid have recently paid for the likes of Eden Hazard and Philippe Coutinho.

‘If you look at the likes of Coutinho and Hazard right now they can’t look at Sterling right now with what he’s producing,’ Ferdinand added.

‘They don’t get the numbers. They don’t get the goals and assists and effect games the way this guy is doing at the moment.

‘Every game he’s creating three or four chances whether it’s a pass or a shot at goal. His running off the ball his pound for pound strength is ridiculous.

‘He’s resilient in terms of taking tackles and staying fit. These defenders are going to go back to Italy and say ‘have you heard about Raheem Sterling?’

‘I’d say at the moment Mane is in that conversation. You’ve got Mohamed Salah and Kevin de Bruyne.

‘This guy he’s just scoring goals. I love everything about him his attitude his humility.’

MORE: Raheem Sterling should have scored more, says Pep Guardiola after Man City man’s hat-trick

MORE: Raheem Sterling hat-trick helps Man City destroy Atalanta 5-1 as Phil Foden sees red


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