Raheem Sterling on his totally relatable upbringing
"I didn’t fully understand what my mum was doing for us. I just knew that she was gone." We take a look at the turbulent childhood of this famous footballer.
Raheem Sterling of Manchester City with his daughter Melody Rose Sterling (Getty Images)
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Raheem Sterling's life story makes for compelling reading not only because it is laced with tragedy and triumph, but also because his story mirrors that of so many South African boys.

His team, Manchester City, won the 2018/2019 Premier League Championship, but his path to victory wasn't an easy one. 

"When I was two years old, my father was murdered," the famous footballer writes. "That shaped my entire life." 

Not long after that, his mother left him and his sister to be raised by their grandmother, while she sought an education in England, aiming to create a better life for her kids.

The Jamaican-born footballer, and dad of two, describes how they lived with their grandmother in Kingston for a few years. "I remember watching the other kids with their mums and just feeling really jealous. I didn’t fully understand what my mum was doing for us. I just knew that she was gone."

"My grandma was amazing, but everybody wants their mum at that age."

"Helping her clean the toilets"

Eventually the little family was reunited in England, but things weren't easy. "My mum was working as a cleaner at some hotels to make extra money so she could pay for her degree."

"I’ll never forget waking up at five in the morning before school and helping her clean the toilets at the hotel," Raheem describes. 

"There was a two-year period where we were moving all the time, because we couldn’t afford the rent. At the time, I barely thought about it. It was just normal to me. But now I understand what it must have been like for her, going through that struggle."

"My mum is the biggest inspiration"

"My mum is the biggest inspiration on my life, whenever something is going wrong I always think of my mum. She is always fighting, I have seen her fighting through the hardest things. If I see what she is capable of, that's where I get my fight from," he says in the video above. 

The 2019 Footballer of the Year award winner touches on losing his father when he was a kid. "I will always love him and always know he is watching over us." He has also been reported as saying "Performing for my dad does drive me on."

"Speak to someone"

The Manchester City and England forward has also publicly shared his advice for kids who have also suffered racist abuse.

"Don't keep it to yourself, it's one of the worst things you can do, best thing to do is speak to someone you are close with and trust, get your feelings known."

"I was that 12 year-old kid who didn't like talking. When you are older you realise that you do need to do these things - to talk to someone." He suggests bringing it up with someone at school, your parents or someone else you trust.

"Don't let them win, get the issue sorted. The longer you leave it the worse it will be", he added.

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