Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling said he is keen to emulate global superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, having enjoyed his best night in football against Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday.
Sterling scored twice as City beat their Bundesliga opponents 4-2 in the Champions League to progress as Group D winners – bouncing back from a woeful outing in their 2-0 defeat to Stoke City at the weekend.
Since moving from Liverpool in a much-publicised transfer during the close-season, Sterling has struggled for consistency but has earmarked the Barcelona and Real Madrid superstars as the examples to follow.
“It’s definitely one of my best nights in football,” he told reporters.
“I said to myself if I could get on the scoresheet and we top the group I’d definitely put it down as my best moment in football so far.
“I look at the biggest players in the world and try to see what they’ve all got. I don’t like to compare myself with people. I try to learn as much as I can from everyone around me. Definitely Messi and Ronaldo.
“They basically just set their lives to play football. I know that’s obvious, they should, but they just take it so seriously. They’ve got massive self-belief and know they’re the best players in the world.
“That’s what makes them unique and so special.”
The England international turned 21 on Tuesday and once again showed his potential to become a key player for club and country, having received heavy criticism prior to his Anfield exit.
Having lived with the backlash that surrounded his big-money move to City, Sterling feels he is able to deal with criticism much better now.
“Most definitely, especially with my self-belief now,” he continued.
“I just take everything I hear, take it in one ear and put it through the other. I concentrate on my football and that’s all that matters.
“I sometimes criticise myself a bit too much because I know where I want to be. That’s no different if I score or I don’t score. I just need to keep working hard at what I know I can do and it’ll all fall into place.
“When it does, it’ll be a great moment. [I am over-critical] because I know what I’m capable of. To put it on the world stage is the most important thing now, showing people that I can play regularly and consistently, scoring goals and helping my team win matches.”