Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has told Raheem Sterling that it makes “no sense” for him to dream of being named the greatest player in the world.
The former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss believes that the England winger would be better served simply to relax and let events take their course.
The 25-year-old is coming off a campaign in which he scored 35 goals in 57 matches for City and England, while he has started the new season in good form, with 12 outings returning six goals.
Asked what his charge should think about when aiming to win the Ballon d’Or, Guardiola replied: “My advice? What I would say to him is don't think about this so much – it makes no sense.
“Just enjoy the life, focus and the destiny will dictate who he is as a player.
“I know he's one of the most fantastic players I have in my career as a manager. It depends on him of course and his performance.”
Sterling was criticised early in his career for failing to produce in the final third of the pitch, though he has rapidly improved that aspect of his game in recent seasons.
“I think he is a better player since I arrived and in four years time, hopefully, he will be an even better player than he is now,” Guardiola said before tipping his player to shine in Sunday’s vital clash with Liverpool.
“It's a process but I think Raheem is already an exceptional player. He plays all the minutes, has the physicality and against Liverpool he will be there again.
“Of course, there will be a moment when he will take a rest, but in this moment, he is a very important player for us and why we count on him.
“I am pretty sure, especially because of his mentality and desire to win, that he's improved a lot since we arrived and all the credit is for him.
“And I wish that in three, four or five years he will be a much, much better player than he is today.”