Raheem Sterling looked up to Queens Park Rangers forward Adel Taarabt when he was a promising youngster in the QPR academy.
Manchester City forward Sterling spent seven years at QPR between 2003 and 2010 and would’ve been just 14 years old when Taarabt joined the Loftus Road club on loan from Tottenham in March 2009.
The 30-year-old Moroccan would go on to have a sizeable impact at the London club, inspiring them to Premier League promotion in 2011 after joining on a permanent deal at the beginning of the 2010-11 season.
Sterling had already moved to Liverpool by that point but seemingly still used Taarabt as inspiration in his rise to the top.
“Raheem Sterling texted me a few months ago. I was listening to an interview where he said I was his idol at QPR,” he told FourFourTwo.
“These days it would be Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, but when he was a kid he watched me!”
In an interview with Uefa in 2017, Sterling revealed he looked up to Taarabt but listed three modern-day greats as his true idols.
“When I was at Queens Park Rangers I loved Adel Taarabt a lot,” Sterling said. “It was natural, it’s the kind of players I like. But the real idols were obviously [Cristiano] Ronaldo and Messi.
“Ronaldinho is my favorite player. When he played, it was like playing with children.”