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Soccer-Sterling open to leaving Manchester City

(Reuters) – Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling would be willing to leave the Premier League club and move abroad, he said on Thursday.

The England international, 26, has fallen out of favour with City coach Pep Guardiola this season, starting only two of seven Premier League games.

“If there was an opportunity to go somewhere else, I’d be open to it at this moment in time,” Sterling said during the FT Business of Sport US Summit.

“As an English player, all I know is the Premier League. I’ve always known that maybe one day, I would love to play abroad and see how I would come up against that challenge.”

Asked what languages he would like to speak, Sterling said: “I should be learning a few different languages. I quite like the French accent – and Spanish.”

Sterling, who is under contract with City until 2023, talked of his admiration of Real Madrid last year, before City met Real in a Champions League last-16 tie.

Real are expected to attempt to sign Kylian Mbappe next year when the France forward’s contract with Paris St Germain runs out after having a reported offer of 160 million euros turned down by the French club this year.

Spanish media have reported that Barcelona are interested in Sterling, although a move for the England forward would be hampered by their financial problems, which forced them to part ways with all-time top scorer Lionel Messi in August.

(Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond)

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