Raheem Sterling has admitted that he doesn’t know why there is a negative perception of his lifestyle in some sections of the media.
The England forward, currently at the World Cup in Russia, has attracted attention in the past for his spending habits, but he can’t understand where the reputation has come from.
“You know, it’s sad that I even have to say this, but I’m going to say it anyway,” he told The Players’ Tribune. “There’s a perception in certain parts of the media that I love ‘bling.’ I love diamonds. I love to show off. I really don’t understand where that comes from.
“Especially when I bought my mum a house, it was unbelievable what some people were writing. I think it’s really sad that people do that. They hate what they don’t even know.
“If people want to write about my mum’s bathroom in her house, all I have to tell you is that 15 years ago, we were cleaning toilets in Stonebridge and getting breakfast out of the vending machine. If anybody deserves to be happy, it’s my mum.”
In a revealing article, Sterling discusses a host of topics including the death of his father at an early age, the sacrifices his mother and sister made to help him become a footballer and growing up in the shadow of Wembley stadium.
Despite his struggles and some of the criticism he has had to deal with, he still believes England is a country where people can come to achieve their goals.
“If you grew up the same way I grew up, don’t listen to what certain tabloids want to tell you,” he said. “They just want to steal your joy. They just want to pull you down. I’m telling you right now, England is still a place where a naughty boy who comes from nothing can live his dream.”
Sterling started England’s first game at the World Cup and played 68 minutes as they beat Tunisia 2-1. They next face Panama in their second Group G fixture at lunchtime on Sunday.