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Raheem Sterling says he is relieved transfer from Liverpool is over
Manchester City's 68-million-euro signing Raheem Sterling says he is happy that his move from Liverpool has been completed. Sterling's departure seemed imminent when he was named in a 30-man Liverpool squad to tour Thailand, Malaysia and Australia but wasn't on the plane when the squad left Merseyside.
Sterling spoke for the first time on Wednesday about his relief at the end of his protracted transfer from Liverpool.
The 20-year-old moved to City for a fee of up to 68 million euros.
He told Manchester City's TV station that it was a good moment for him and his family.
"I'm just glad it's over and done with and I can't wait to get on the training field," he said.
Sterling moved to Anfield as a 15-year-old from the academy at Queen's Park Rangers who will receive around 11 million euros from the deal.
"Things have come really fast over the last couple of years. You don't really think about it at 15 but I'd never have imagined that I'd be at this point at the age that I am and breaking the British transfer record," he said.
His stock has risen courtesy of dazzling performances especially during the 2013/14 season when he formed an attacking troika with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.
Liverpool scored 101 goals in that season but were pipped to the Premier League title by Manchester City.
City were dispossessed of their crown last season by Chelsea. And the acquisition of Raheem Shaquille Sterling is a statement of intent from the money men at the Etihad.
"City have got world class players," added Sterling. "And they're players that I think are more than capable of winning things year in, year out."
Such comments will be cruel for the Anfield faithful and Brendan Rodgers, the man who deployed him with such great effect. For the fans, Sterling was one of their own, around whom a team could not only be built but prosper.
Dominic King, who covers Liverpool for the British newspaper the Daily Mail, told RFI that the squad was intent on looking ahead. "I spoke to Lucas Leiva just after the first game of the pre-season tour and he told me that there could be no dwelling on the matter," said King. "They can't let what happened last year - when Suarez departed for Barcelona - happen again. They stewed on it for a while. They wish Raheem all the very best but it's time to move on."
Sterling scored 23 goals in 129 senior appearances for Liverpool and his new boss Manuel Pellegrini will expect assists and more goals from one of England's brightest talents.
That the divorce happened is no surprise. In January Sterling rejected a new contract worth 140,000 euros per week. And, as the 2014/15 season drew to a close, in a TV interview Sterling confirmed he had turned down offers from the club.
His new weekly wage packet is expected to be more than 200,000 euros a week. It's a figure that will make him one of the best-paid footballers in the Premier League.
And there's also a domestic boost from the move.
"My mum says I do look good in blue," quipped Sterling. "She's really happy for me and she just wants me to buckle down and focus and take my career to the next level."