‘If I can get the record then that’s what I’ll try to do’: Raheem Sterling wants to become England’s all-time leading Champions League scorer – with Man City star seven goals short of Wayne Rooney’s tally of 30
- Raheem Sterling has scored 23 goals in the Champions League during his career
- Wayne Rooney is the leading goalscoring Englishman – having notched 30 goals
- Manchester City face Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals
Raheem Sterling has eyes on hunting down Wayne Rooney’s English goalscoring record in Europe.
The Manchester City forward has notched 23 times in the Champions League – level with Chelsea legend Frank Lampard and one shy of Paul Scholes.
Rooney is out on his own on 30 goals but Sterling, who would not entertain talk about a potential new contract at City, believes he can scale those heights before City face Real Madrid in Tuesday’s semi-final.
Raheem Sterling has targeted becoming England’s all-time leading Champions League scorer
The Manchester City forward has scored 23 goals in the competition’s history so far
‘It’s like anything… when you make professional debut, score your first goal then look to try to do better, that’s what I try to do improve,’ Sterling said. ‘If I can get the English record then that’s what I’ll try to do.
‘As a player, to be playing and scoring and making assists – contributing to the team – is a massive thing. That’s where you get confidence from, I’m trying to contribute as much as I can.
‘This is a special competition, a competition every youngster wants to play in. Every time I play, I try to give my best. The music and atmosphere on the night – it’s always special.’
Sterling has won every domestic trophy at City and added: ‘The Champions League is the one we haven’t quite got our hands on and are focusing on.
‘You can say that Real not having a game [at the weekend] is beneficial for them but it all comes down to tomorrow night, who is better prepared and who wants it more really.’
City have concerns at the back going into the semi-final, with Joao Cancelo suspended, while both Kyle Walker and John Stones missed the 5-1 win over Watford.
Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney (right) tops the list with 30 goals for an Englishman
Guardiola will look over fatigued players during training on Monday afternoon but believes those called upon can step up if required.
‘We’ll see how the players feel,’ he said. ‘We’ll have time to decide the line-up. If players play in a position they are not used to, I am pretty sure they will do their best.
‘I didn’t [always] expect to be here. I will never underestimate what we have done by getting here. Never. If you said at the start of the season we would reach the semi-final, I would sign.
‘I have the feeling of how nice it is, to be in the last stages with the best. We have to be ourselves and play two exceptional games to reach the final. It’s not necessary to say how much we respect Real Madrid. It’s an honour.
‘If we have to compete with history, we don’t have any chance. History speaks for itself. But we have the desire to compete against them. Playing against Real is an incredible test. We want to suffer when we have to, stick together. Try to attack as best as possible.
‘Before we were almost never here and now we start to get here. Reaching the final is a good lesson for us and will be good for the future.’
City boss Pep Guardiola says his side are relishing the challenge of facing Real Madrid
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