A hat-trick in a mere 11 minutes against Atalanta on Tuesday in a Champions League encounter put Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling in the same bracket to that of Michael Owen, Andrew Cole, Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Mike Newell, Alan Shearer and umm… Danny Welbeck, as he became only the sixth English player to score a Champions League hat-trick.
Sterling, who started the rout in the 58th minute, first provided an assist to Sergio Aguero’s equalizer and was well on course for his fourth later in the game. Riyad Mahrez, a part of City’s front three on the night, had put the 24-year-old through on goal only for him to squander off the opportunity by missing a simple one-on-one.
Compared to Sterling, Mbappe took a sluggish 22 minutes to score his three goals in PSG's 5-0 romp away to former European Cup runners-up Club Brugge in Belgium in Group A.
In contrast, Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard did provide an assist in his team’s narrow 1-0 win over Galatasary, but failed to have a telling impact despite hitting the post late in the game.
The Belgian’s performance, overall this season, has been sub-par, to say the least. And that has forced the Twitterattis to draw a comparison between the two star wingers of the generation.
The result though has been in splits and there isn’t a clear conclusion to the debate. Have a look at what’s happening in the world of social media:
Sterling scores a hattrick against pub teams & gets placed on Neymar, Mbappe, Hazard, Griezmann level.... then an actual football team shows up.. Sterling disappears. It's a series happens all the damn time!— His Excellency (@eemz_siphiwo) October 23, 2019
Kylian Mbappe and Raheem Sterling scoring almost half of Hazard’s UCL career goal tally in one night.— Ugbedeojo (@Certifiedopeboi) October 22, 2019
You seriously putting Sterling in the same bracket as Coutihno and Hazard? Either I need a drink or am high already. Can we stop overhyping English players.— Mogwera Kennedy® (@Yunblad) October 23, 2019
Sterling is so clear of Hazard and Cristiano but y'all not ready for this conversation— sj (@sun2jay) October 22, 2019
Eden Hazard in the CL— R🐝 (@2SilvasYouKnow) October 22, 2019
Raheem Sterling in the CL
13 assists pic.twitter.com/kYHs9V6Ri7
European trophies— ™ (@hiffeyfc) October 22, 2019
Sterling : 0
Hazard : 2
End of conversation... pic.twitter.com/wpyxbjtR84
A reminder Sterling is doing at City at 24, what Hazard can’t do at Madrid at 28— MCWFC Fan (@ManCityKD) October 23, 2019
Anyone who says hazard is better than sterling is a certified nonce— Thomas Gilroy (@gilroy_nufc) October 23, 2019
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Paul Ellis