Manchester City star Raheem Sterling has been left “furious and frustrated” with the continued campaign from the media to make him a scapegoat of England's disastrous European Championships.
A leaked Snapchat appeared to show the 21-year-old showing his friends around a luxury home shortly after he returned from France. It includes a crystal-encrusted sink as well as a selection of supercars.
The Sun ran it on their front page with the headline “Obscene Raheem”, accusing him of bragging about his celebrity lifestyle despite failing to make an impact for England during their four games at Euro 2016. The sub-heading read “England failure steps off plane and insults fans by showing off blinging house”.
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Now a friend has spoken for Sterling, telling the Manchester Evening News he has been left outraged with the unfactual reports, claiming the house was bought by Sterling for his mother.
He said: “Raheem and his family are really upset that the fact he's bought a nice house for his mum is being used to hammer him by the media and make him the scapegoat for England's failure.
“He flew back from France into Luton with the rest of the squad and instead of going back to Manchester, he went to visit his mum who lives just outside London as he hadn't seen her for a few weeks.
“He bought her the house as a thank you for all her support and help. Now to have his mum's private life and house being mocked and thrown into the public spotlight has left him furious and frustrated.”
Dust down, move on
For Sterling, as with the rest of the England squad, he will be hoping to keep a low profile between now and the start of the Premier League season. He has a new manager to impress in the form of Pep Guardiola, who has apparently been in contact.
The Spaniard called Sterling during the Euros to reassure him that he remains a big part of his future plans and will be given time to prove his worth following a poor debut season at the Etihad.