Raheem Sterling was given a warm welcome by new Chelsea team-mate Hakim Ziyech – in the form of a cheeky nutmeg during a rondo on their pre-season tour of the United States.
Sterling has joined Chelsea from Manchester City for a fee believed to be around £47.5million and Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel praised his new signing.
“For me, he is a huge player, with a huge influence in the last years in English football and he’s in a perfect age to now take responsibility around young players that we have and be an example,” Tuchel told the BBC.
“Getting what he delivered for years given his age, his hunger for responsibility, and his style of play and his amount of intensity is outstanding. It is the benchmark in the Premier League and is exactly what we need.”
Sterling has linked up with the Chelsea squad in the United States and took part in the team’s training session on Wednesday – where one of his team-mates introduced himself in the time-honoured footballer fashion.
During a rondo, where one player in the middle of a circle has to dispossess his team-mates, Sterling was ruthlessly nutmegged by Ziyech who squealed “Welcome!” in his delight.
Sterling scored 131 goals in 339 games for Manchester City and it’s safe to say his signing has excited some Chelsea legends.
“Welcome to Chelsea, Raheem,” former Blues captain John Terry wrote on Instagram. “What a signing this is… good luck mate.”
Meanwhile, ex-Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole told to BBC Sport: “Chelsea are getting one of England’s best players in the prime of his career at a good price.
“It’s a great bit of business. It helps us in the final third of the pitch – he’s a goalscorer and he can help the young players.
“We are very young in that area – Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic. Raheem is five or six years older than them, has more games under his belt and has been round the block.
“He can help with the leadership group as well. He’s part of the leadership group for England. We’ve lost Antonio Rudiger, so he will be very important on and off the pitch.”
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