Raheem Sterling 'called the n-word and headbutted' in first experience of racism

Raheem Sterling has opened up about his experiences of racism in a candid new interview.

The Manchester City star spoke to Alistair Campbell for GQ about calling out racist abuse in the stands and social media, alongside a dramatic photo shoot.

And the 24-year-old revealed that the first time he was faced with racism was not in his ‘multicultural’ childhood in Wembley, but while walking home from school in Liverpool.

Speaking to GQ, Sterling said: ‘The first time I ever got abuse was in Liverpool. I had just been bought from QPR. Someone called my name – my full name – so I thought, “Oh, they probably know me.” At this point people were starting to recognise me a bit.

‘He says, “Can I speak to you for a second?” I said, “Yeah, no problem.” So I walk across the road and then he says the n-word and he head-butts me. And I was scratching my head thinking, “Did he just do this?” And then I took care of the rest.’

He added: ‘A hundred per cent he regretted it.’

Back in December, the Manchester City player posted a screenshot an article that criticised a black football player for spending £2.25million on a mansion despite never having played a Premier League match.

‘I wasn’t trying to say, you lot are this, you lot are that’, he said.

‘I never thought it would have such a massive impact. It’s great to know people are listening. The one thing about people in this country is they are always willing to listen. I’m really grateful for that.’

Sterling also admitted that the barrage of headlines criticising his spending made him think that he shouldn’t have money.

He said: ‘There was a point when I left Liverpool I actually thought, “Why should this little black kid have this money?” That’s at one point how I felt, the stories that were coming out… Why should he?’

Raheem’s interview was accompanied by a stunning photoshoot, which saw him pose in dramatic black angel wings while shirtless, under the headline ‘Guardian Angel’.

Another picture sees the footballer draped with a fur-trimmed coat around his shoulders while he showed off his tattooed torso.

Sterling recently  admitted he finds it hard to get close to his teammates, and that he cannot take any ‘ego’.

When asked if he will still be in touch with them in 20 years time, he revealed: ‘To be honest, probably three or four. And I don’t think it’s stay in contact as in seeing them every summer of something. It’s probably once in a while: how are you doing?

‘It’s hard to get close with your teammates. We all do the same thing and I like to be around my friends that are normal guys. The one thing I can’t take is the ego. I like people that are just chilled.

‘I’m not saying every player is, but everyone has their little diva moment.’

The full interview can be seen in the August issue of British GQ, available on newsstands and digital download on Friday 5th July 2019. www.gq.co.uk

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