Pep Guardiola has claimed it was “normal” for Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling to speak about links with Real Madrid.
Sterling did not rule out playing for Real Madrid in the future in an interview with Spanish outlet AS, although he insisted he was “really happy” at City for now.
Sterling said: “No one knows what the future will hold. I am a player and I am always open to challenges but right now my challenge is at City and I’m really happy. I have a contract with City now and I have to respect this.
“Real Madrid are a fantastic club. When you see the white shirt you know exactly what the club stands for, it’s massive.”
Guardiola does not seem to be bothered by the comments, admitting that the club are powerless to prevent such things being said.
“The players are free to talk and say what they think,” said Guardiola, who was not concerned at suggestions the England winger could be looking for a way out of the Etihad Stadium.
“We are not here to tell them what they have to say. It’s normal in the Madrid media to speak about Madrid, that’s normal.”
City take on Premier League rivals Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Saturday evening.
And their manager has backed them to show their commitment right up until the end of the season.
Guardiola said: “I’m completely sure (of) the commitment of our players, it’s about what they’ve shown for many years, nothing changes.
“At the end of the season nobody knows what is going to happen. With calm we decide what we want, but for the next three months the commitment will be incredible.”
Guardiola added he had not received any support from rival clubs in the wake of City’s two-year ban from European competition after serious breaches of UEFA’s financial rules.
City have appealed the decision, which would see them ruled out of the Champions League and Europa League if upheld.