PASSION: Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling was a little miffed after his side was beaten by Liverpool. — AFP/VNA Photo.
Despite many thinking to the contrary, professional football players are really, after all, just like everyone else. They are human beings.
Sure, their bank balances may well contain more naughts than you will find at a tic-tac-toe convention, but if you cut them open, they bleed the same blood as you and I (although chances are they will be treated for said cut at a five-star private medical facility).
Towards the end of the so-called Premier League decider last Sunday (checks diary, yes it is still only November), Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and Liverpool’s Joe Gomez were involved in an on-field spat.
Raheem, a super-talented footballer, was clearly miffed at his side’s performance as they trailed Liverpool by three goals to one as the match was in its closing stages.
It was typical footballer bust-up. Handbags at ten paces.
City were rightly or wrongly upset some of the close decisions didn’t go their way and probably left Anfield feeling somewhat aggrieved.
Seeing Sterling go head-to-head (or rather head-to-chest) with Gomez did remind me of what it would look like if Napoleon ever squared up to LeBron James. It was a mismatch to say the least.
But after their 10-second showdown, and after the final whistle blew, it seemed all was well in the world as the two players embraced post-match.
How wrong could one be.
Fast forward a few days when the two came face-to-face once again, this time on international duty, it appears Sterling was still at boiling point, and him and the Liverpool defender had to be pulled apart once more.
Sterling, who has been dropped by England coach Gareth Southgate for the next fixture, has since apologised for his actions.
Personally, I quite like what Sterling did.
While I’m not for one minute condoning violence in the workplace, I do think he showed his human side and has rightly apologised since.
Sterling gets dog’s abuse wherever he plays.
Whether enduring God-awful racist abuse while on England duty, or being lambasted at every touch of the ball at Anfield as he was a former player, the knives are certainly out when the Jamaican-born footballer plies his trade.
I like him. I think he is an amazing talent and while I would have loved if he was still wearing the red of Liverpool, I totally get why he left in 2015.
At the time, Liverpool were a pale imitation of the team they are today, and since he left for Manchester, Sterling has won more Premier League titles than Steven Gerrard ever did.
At the time it was a good move. Liverpool did okay from it as well, getting oodles of cash for a player that cost very little.
From now until he hangs up his boots, he will always be hated when he plays Liverpool, but that’s par for the course.
I thought on Sunday he was City’s best player, certainly the one who cared the most, and obviously the one who had the most to lose.
What happened with him and Joe Gomez is now in the past.
England coach Southgate has clearly decided the best course of action is to punish the striker by dropping him for the next match, but after he took to Instagram to offer his apologies, I think he should be recalled.
Yes, England lead the group and Euros qualification is all but assured, however at the same time he is probably the country’s best player. So in my mind, play him.
Welsh firebrand Craig Bellemy reportedly attacked his Liverpool teammate John Arne Riise with a golf club after the two had a bust-up before a match against Barcelona.
Both players played in the game, both players scored. Liverpool won by two goals to one.
Yes, footballers can often be seen as arrogant buffoons who think they are the bee’s knees, but at the end of the day they are just like everyone else.
Everyone else, that is, who don’t own a Ferrari. — VNS