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Raheem Sterling Explains Why Racial Abuse At Stamford Bridge Did Not Put Him Off Chelsea Move

Raheem Sterling was racially abused by a Chelsea fan at Stamford Bridge in 2018.

While playing for Manchester City, Sterling was targeted by a man in the Matthew Harding Stand.

That man has since been banned from Stamford Bridge for life, meaning he will be unable to attend on Sunday when Sterling makes his home debut for Chelsea against Tottenham.

What happened in 2018 understandably affected Sterling a lot.

But the England star explained this week that he was able to use that negative experience to make a positive change.

Raheem Sterling pictured during Manchester City's 2-0 defeat at Chelsea in 2018

Raheem Sterling pictured during Manchester City's 2-0 defeat at Chelsea in 2018

The abuse aimed at Sterling received widespread media coverage after TV viewers witnessed it live.

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Reflecting on the incident and the subsequent fallout, Sterling was quoted in the London Evening Standard on Friday as saying: "I think that conversation opened the door for me personally in the sense where it made me understand what my true purpose is other than football.

"Of course, football is my main goal and talent but the other thing that gives me the most joy is helping people.

"So from that incident, I've moved away from the racial side of it and I'm focusing more on helping and nurturing young black people.

On whether the abuse he suffered made him think twice about moving to Chelsea this summer, Raheem said: "It wasn't something that played on my mind at all. I can't let an incident from individuals change my perception of the club."

Former Liverpool forward Stan Collymore recently suggested that Sterling should meet with the fan who abused him to make a strong statement in the fight against racism.

Sterling responded to Collymore's idea by telling reporters: "I have no hatred or malice towards the individual. That's something that I could do right here, right now or tomorrow. That's not an issue."

Sterling made his Chelsea debut in last weekend's 1-0 win away at Everton.

He will be hoping to score his first Chelsea goal on Sunday, having netted eight times against Tottenham for former clubs City and Liverpool.