Few footballers have taken as much criticism throughout their entire career than Raheem Sterling has before his 24th birthday.
Despite the constant and often exaggerated negativity directed at him, the England international is flourishing under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
He today penned a three-year contract extension worth up to £300,000-a-week, underlining his status as a key player for both club and country.
With seven goals to his name already this season, Sterling is on track to better the 23 he notched up during the Sky Blues’ double-winning 2017-18 campaign.
It goes without saying, the 23-year-old couldn’t be happier with his current circumstances.
"I'm delighted to sign. My development here has been incredible," he said, per BBC Sport.
"I felt from the minute I got here it was the right choice for me. It's paid off and I'm really grateful."
Liverpool fans could be forgiven for feeling a sense of regret over Sterling leaving Merseyside for City in 2015 - especially those who equate his decision with betrayal.
WHEN STERLING JOINED CITY
Unsurprisingly, his £49 million transfer was at first met with anger among supporters, though some gradually moved on as the Reds progressed in the ensuing years.
Jamie Carragher wasn’t impressed with his former club’s failure to hold on to such a bright talent, tweeting in 2015: “I wish Lfc bought players as well as they sold them!!”
But what does the Anfield legend make of Sterling’s exit three years on?
"No matter how it came about – or how unpalatable to Liverpool supporters to lose such an important player – there is no-one who can look at how his career has progressed and say he made the wrong decision," Carragher said, per the Liverpool Echo.
"He left for footballing reasons given where Liverpool stood at the time and the direction City were heading.
"Raheem was guaranteed to compete for the Premier League and Champions League every season, and work under one of the best managers of all-time.
"Since Pep Guardiola arrived, Raheem's game has gone up a level so he now ranks alongside Harry Kane as England’s best player.
"The difference is Kane has taken club form on to the international stage. Raheem's next challenge is to make his recent performance against Spain a regular occurrence for England.”
It’s difficult to argue with much of Carragher’s assessment - but do Liverpool fans think?
Certain fans never forgive a player for leaving their club to join a direct rival, but the trophies Sterling has since won with City more than justify his motives.
Does Sterling deserve a bit of heat fro Liverpool fans, or is their grudge unjust? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment.News Now - Sport News