14 Sept 2014

'He's my idol': £20m LFC star admits he 'wants to be like' Man Utd legend

Raheem Sterling is developing into a very effective player for LFC, and it's clear that he has all the attributes to become a top class player, but who inspires 19-year old attacker?

Speaking yesterday to the Daily Mail, Sterling - who impressed during Liverpool's 3-0 victory over Tottenham last week - revealed his biggest football influence:

"Ronaldo has always been an idol to me, but I’m not going to say any more because every time I mention a name, people say I’m comparing myself to them! Everyone wants to be like the best in the world."

If you're going to model yourself after someone then on a football basis, Ronaldo is a good choice. Having said that, if £20m-rated Sterling really wants to learn how to be the ultimate winger, he would be better off studying footage of Liverpool legend John Barnes, who was (IMO) a better player than Ronaldo.

Liverpool legend John Aldridge agrees, and in an interview last year, he enthused:

"He [barnes] is quite simply the best player I ever played with. John was something else, a latter day Ronaldo if you like...but better. He could do everything and he provided the crosses for many of my goals in a red shirt"

Barnes was an amazing, once in a lifetime player, and I'm so thankful that I got the opportunity to see him play live. I'm convinced that anyone who actually watched Barnesy play regularly for Liverpool would agree that he is a superior player to Ronaldo.

Unlike Ronaldo, Barnes often created everything for himself, and most of the time, he created something out of nothing with his genius skill. Ronaldo often needs other players to create space for him, play him into space, and/or create goals for him.

Just watch any compilation of his goals for Real Madrid, and you'll see that the majority are created by others. The same applies on the international stage; he rarely creates something out of nothing for Portugal.

This is why Barnes - and Lionel Messi - are arguably better players than Ronaldo. Messi is very much like Barnes in that he's a one-man creative machine, and regularly creates goals/chances out of nothing. When it comes to a direct comparison, Barnes was (IMO) superior to Ronaldo in the following ways:

* Close control, dribbling, running with the ball.
* Genuine guile, skill and creativity.
* First touch.
* Crossing.
* Passing.
* Chance-creation.
* Goal Assists.
* Free kicks.

Ronaldo has the edge in the following areas:

* Overall goalscoring.
* Heading.
* Pace.
* Shooting.

It should also be remembered that Barnes played in an era where players got practically no protection from referees. Rash tackles were the norm, and defenders constantly hacked, kicked and hassled creative players without fear of being disciplined. Despite this, Barnes still managed to play beautiful football, and he made it look easy.

Ronaldo would've been kicked out of the game in late-1980s. He has it comparatively easy in terms of the physicality he faces from opposing defenders, and I doubt that he'd be half as effective then as he is now.

On the other hand, Barnes would've been even better in the modern game as he'd have much more time and space on the ball, and he wouldn't have to deal with hackers like Tony Adams constantly trying to scythe him down with 'reducer' tackles.

Sterling is good, but he's got a long way to go before he's in Barnes' class.



  1. John Barnes better than Ronaldo? That is literally the stupidest bias fan statement I've ever heard. Wow. Just wow.

  2. Difficult to judge players from different eras but in his day he was at least the equal. So it is not that much of a stretch to say he could have been better.

  3. Jaimie, did you just recycle and article? I swear I've read this before

  4. I think it's almost impossible to compare different era players. Barnes was certainly a brilliant player but I'm not sure he reached the individual levels of Ronaldo

  5. i thought he did okay to the weak link in midfield was Gerrard and he has been for several months

  6. sterling can be the next sterling he doesn't need to emulate anyone ...what really impresses me is his toughness for a little guy he isnt phased by kicking or being kicked he is like Suarez in that respect

  7. Agree. The manager messed up big time yesterday. Exactly like Southampton last season too many changes because he bought the players in he feels he has to play them. He has no plan B and looked bereft of ideas. The team we are playing on Tuesday are the equivalent of a League one team at best. Lucas could have played centrally allowing Gerrard to move up the park and Coutinho looks lost when we play one up front. The midfield was so far away from Ballotelli at times it is no wonder we were taking pot shots. I feel we should have gone for quality over quantity and we have let better players go than we have kept ( Agger /Toure/ Reina /Mignolet).
    Worried this early season inconsistency will cost us again, excatly like last year. Never mind we always have Aspas, Assaidi, and Alberto to come back !! Borini offers absolutely zero .Skirtel has to play when fit, Lovren out of position constantly. Two centre backs at £38m plus Illori, Paez , Toure, are any of them better than Agger and Skirtel ?

  8. Agree with your comments and Jimmy case could play . Allen for me should have been moved on and more quality brought in in the spine of the team . Not quantity. We had that before in previous transfer windows with desperation moves fro Alberto, Aspas , Borini, Allen, Mignolet, Sakho, Paez, Assaidi, . Too much money for Lallana, could have had Kroos for less. Lovren looks like he will take time to settle and cannot play on the right of the centre back pairing as he is constantly drawn out of position. We got lucky against Southampton first game, were doing ok at city defensive lapse , played excellently against Spurs and horror show yesterday. Not good enough . I would bring a defensive coach in to help as we look shakybut this may just be that the keeper is like dracula and dosen' like crosses or takes too long coming out for the ball .

  9. The problem is A Villa are a young team, we are a young team and lets be honest every time A Villa have come to Anfield in last 4 outings it seems the want it alot more than us. S Gerrard(34) against energetic mobile young sides is non existant.

    Its like B Rodgers doesn't have the balls to drop S Gerrard(34) all the top sides and good sides with top managers will use the same tactics A Villa and Southampton have used.

    Put one of your mobile quick attacking players to literally man mark Gerrard(34) or Harry him into mistakes. Let Henderson(24) get on ball as much as possible without being Harried. But do not let Coutinho(22) Or S Gerrard(34) have more than 2 touches on ball.

    Coutinho(22) has the energy, legs, mobility and quick change of pace to get away from markers, sadly S Gerrard(34) no longer has those key attributes in his locker and is now the weakest position in first 11. And the best managers and teams will target the holes in around and behind Gerrard(34) to exploit his weaknesses.

  10. We'll bounce back from this. Every time we've lost we've bounced back. Don't think we'll see that system again

  11. Get used to it Jock! What do you expect from a 'team' injected with six new players. Leaden footed team - leaden brained manager. By Christmas we may see some improvement when they get to know each others names. Sakho - in the name lies the clue to his future.

  12. I have noticed that most times we play with Sakho in the team, Mignolet and Gerrard usually seek him out to progress the ball forward and that must mean they trust him.. He usually has a higher touch of the ball than his partner and is not afraid to take charge. Unfortunate for him, many people are looking for mistakes that he makes than the much more good work he does for the team.

    Lovren has done alright so far but I have also noticed that he tends to stray left towards Sakho's position which creates a bit of confusion..It will probably take time for Lovren to get used to the right flank but I think they will be a great partnership once they get used to each other and iron out the communication issues

  13. The embarrassing thing was Remy came out saying that up to this point he doesn't know why the medical fell through! Then add BR's vague response it just makes the whole thing weird! For 8mill we will never get a deal like that again. People say it was either Ballo or Remy, we could have had both. Then imagine Sturridge Ballo, Remy & Lambert. Borini wouldn't be worth mentioning.
    Unfortunately we will be relying heavily on Sturridge & Sterling.

  14. Barnes was one of the reasons I supported LFC in my younger years!

  15. No No No Allen "use to" rarely lose possession at swansea since he has been at liverpool he has been woeful , Misplaced passes , often bullied off the ball, he has been a real disappointment . Also i don't see allen as a player who has the technique or power to beat a man regularly either ...I agree with the site owner he does not contribute very much and that's why he has struggled to maintain a place despite having a manager who was a fan of him. I would admit he has improved slightly but he is still unable to convince me that he is able to replicate his ability and his main attribute (recycling the ball) at a club like liverpool

  16. sorry... lost is lost... that's a fact... many problems we saw at the front.
    1. Striker ...............not have a killer instinct ( out of position & run )
    2. Midfielder...........Too far shooting from outside of the box
    3. Defender............Still make a mistake - no focus and out of marking
    1-0 not mean we not good. After that goal we was control the ball at 70% game but we not get a goal because : Striker problems.
    For me the team must get a great result.. no wonder if they win..3-2..5-0..1-0.. but the result must "WIN".
    Now we was lost 2 game.. we was throw 6 point and if we like that .. at the end of season we will at 10th.
    Fine new striker with prolific. ( out for borini )-
    Fine Right wider/mid striker : Arjen Robben Type

  17. You're right they hadn't!! How much longer will Reds fans put up with this tipsy tapsy playing along the back of their own defence? Any non league team can do that - it's an accident waiting to happen and it cost us the title last season. Boring backward play by a team without wingers who can get chalk on their boots and get round the parked buses. There's only one person to carry the can for this type of play and that's Brendan Rodgers the coach.
    I never want to hear him rant on again about 'his philosophy' again. We have now got two good young full backs, two good wingers in Sterling and Coutinho we need some muscle in midfield to drive us forward to give Balotelli and Sturridge a fighting chance. I don't see Henderson as a 'driver' - he always seems to be charging about with his mouth agape, passing backwards or firing over the bar. We need more muscle and a competitive goalkeeper and for goodness sake get the big Italian into the centre forward spot where he can really annoy defences - he's not come to Anfield as a PR 'good guy' or a winger! Borini! Forget about him.

  18. I replied to your post earlier but clearly JK thought my criticism of Brendan Rodgers was too accurate and scrubbed it. Pity -;(

  19. Fancy backing that fiction up with anything? Surely there must be a state out there that proves your point? No? Didn't think so.

  20. Hi just an opinion ...i was a big fan of joe allen and to be fair there maybe reasons why he hasn't performed "in my opinion" to his best ability ...shoulder injury , being a dad for the first time etc but here you go some facts for you

    what they don't show is the physicality issue but i def don't think he has been as effective as he was for swansea

    at swansea he was a 92% pass rate
    at lfc that has dropped along with other attributes , I think he has looked limited at LFC , but was pure class at swansea ...I think he can get better just not really sure TOP 4 better,



  21. So the st
    stats showed that his tackling got better with his first season for us asas opposed to his Swansea. We need to see up to date stats to compare that to his more recent.as

  22. Barnes was better...

  23. Totally agree Jaimie