No player dribbled past more players during the last European Championship than Raheem Sterling. The Englishman slalomed past 23 players in eight games and maybe that was not a surprise to connoisseurs. More remarkable was that he managed to score three times. Sterling led the team, he was England’s best player, but as always he also caused controversy.
Sterling has often been bashed in the English tabloids in recent years. He was mockingly depicted with shopping bags, because he always spreads his arms wide during his actions, as if he had just returned from the supermarket with a series of not too heavy bags. Or next to a photo of a goose, because his walk with his arms widespread is somewhat reminiscent of that of the bird. With Sterling on steam for the English, there were also flattering associations with his outspread arms at this tournament. Sterling as an airplane, for example, carrying England on its wide-spread wings.
Sterling can handle jokse and criticism by now. He was able to laugh at the imitation Eden Hazard gave of his walk and he acknowledged in a Tweet the resemblance of his gait to a goose pass. As long as the memes and jokes do not have a racist undertone, which unfurtanetely is not self-eviden among English supporters, Sterling seems to accept that his performance will continue to stir controversy.
Sterling has vehemently resisted racism, especially that in the English tabs, ever since he faced racist cries from the stands at Chelsea. He wondered why a black Manchester City player was criticized for buying a house for his mother, as a young player who thros money out of the window, while a white player was praised for doing the same for making a nice gesture to his mother. The English press pleaded guilty.
Sterling aroused great annoyance at the last tournament with his dives, sometimes without an opponent anywhere near. When he was awarded another unjust penalty, the anger was great. In the semi-final, Dutch referee Danny Makkelie was fooled again by Sterling in the extra time of the semi-final against Denmark. Harry Kane converted the very easily awarded penalty. ‘A clear penalty’, Sterling said after the match, but not everyone agreed.
One joker awarded Sterling an Oscar for best actor after the match, another remarked wittingly that despite the presence of Tom Cruise, there was an even better actor present in the stadium. Someone else commented cynically: Glory is temporary, shame endures forever.
With his three goals, Sterling did right to the machine gun on his calf during Euro 2021, finally after he had been mocked many times in recent years for his tumbles and missed opportunities. The English tabloids condemned him for the tattoo as it would glorify violence, but Sterling says the body decoration of the M16 on his calf shows that he will never touch a gun because his father was shot when he was two. “I shoot with my right foot,”
Sterling said. Raheem Sterling grew up in Kingston, Jamaica and learned to play football using empty cartons of orange juice. After the murde on his father’s, Sterling moved to London. He was poor with his mother there until he was discovered at the age of eleven by a Queens Park Rangers scout. Sterling is determined to make it in life and not just as a footballer. ‘Remember to keep going, with your head up and proud of who you are., he wrote to a 13-year-old boy who fell victim to racism.