Barcelona legend Xavi believes Raheem Sterling is the most likely player to succeed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player in the world.
Messi and Ronaldo have dominated Ballon D’Or proceedings over the last decade, but with both past the age of 30, it will soon be time for a change of the guard.
And Xavi told The Mirror that two Premier League stars have a chance of being the next best player in the world, with Sterling – who has already scored six goals this season – leading the race.
“Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the best player in the world awards for so many years now, it’s hard to remember a time before them,” said Xavi.
“Messi is the best ever for me – and even though they’re both still playing at a very high level, there will come the day not so long away when somebody else must step into those shoes.
“You look at young players who can be crowned the future best in the world and you still think of Neymar, Mbappe, Salah, and of course Sterling. I look at the moment – and Sterling is winning that race.
“He’s always been a good player, a dangerous player, but under Pep he become one of the best in the world.
“I know how Pep works – he would have worked closely with him since his arrival – where he needs to improve and what he needed to work on.
“We’re now seeing the results of that – he’s still young and can be the world’s best.”
Xavi – currently manager of Qatari side Al Sadd, where he ended his playing career – also believes Sterling has a chance of winning his first European trophy this season, naming Manchester City as one of three contenders for the Champions League.
“With Barcelona, I look at Manchester City and Liverpool as being the favourites for the Champions League this season.
“We already know that Liverpool have shown they have what it takes to win the Champions League and they are a very strong team.
“And after two Premier League titles I think Pep will really prioritise the Champions League this season.
“You never know what can happen – but I look at those three as one of the winners.”
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