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Man arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault of Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling scored two goals in Manchester City’s 4-1 win over Tottenham, hours after he was allegedly abused and assaulted. (Getty)

Manchester police have arrested a 29-year-old man suspected of assaulting Raheem Sterling prior to Manchester City’s 4-1 win over Tottenham on Saturday.

Sterling was reportedly confronted by an unknown man when he arrived at Man City’s training ground hours before kickoff. The man, waiting by the players’ entrance, reportedly kicked Sterling and called him a racist slur.

That evening, the 23-year-old winger scored two goals – his 14th and 15th of a breakout season – in City’s victory, the club’s 16th in a row in the Premier League.

On Monday, either Sterling or the club reported the incident to Greater Manchester Police. Police have confirmed they are investigating it as a hate crime.

“On Monday, December 18, 2017 a report was made to police after a 23-year-old man was subjected to a racially aggravated assault on Clayton Lane in Manchester on Saturday, December 16,” police said in a statement released Tuesday.

“An investigation was launched and a 29-year-old man was arrested earlier this morning, Tuesday, December 19, 2017, on suspicion of racially aggravated assault. He is now in police custody for questioning. This is being treated as a hate crime.”

Sterling has consistently been a subject of abhorrent racism in England, especially since moving to Manchester City from Liverpool as a 20-year-old for £49 million. He has been slandered and treated unfairly by irresponsible, shameful tabloid newspapers.

Sterling has had to quit social media because of repeated abuse, and has been forced to deal with all kinds of treatment that no innocent 23-year-old should have to deal with. After England’s opening game of Euro 2016, a draw with Russia, he dubbed himself “#TheHatedOne” due to criticism from fans.

Saturday’s alleged attack isn’t necessarily connected to other abuse, or to the disgraceful media coverage. But it’s yet another example of unfounded hate for a player who has done little, if anything, to deserve it.

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer, and occasionally other ball games, for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.

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