Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand believes Raheem Sterling is in the top five footballers in the world right now.
The Manchester City star was in scintillating form last night netting a hat-trick.
Sterling scored his three goals within 11 minutes in the second half a they saw off Atalanta 5-1.
The 24-year-old also provided the assist for both of Sergio Aguero’s goals in the hammering of the Serie A side.
“He’s in the top five players in the world now, definitely,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
“I don’t care who you want to mention, the five top players – he’s got to be in that conversation.
“Because the amount of goals he’s getting, the effect he’s having on games. It’s impossible to keep him out.”
Asked whether he was the best player in the Premier League, Ferdinand responded: “I’d say yeah. I love everything about him.”
Ferdinand also praised Sterling’s development under City manager Pep Guardiola.
“What I love about him, he’s learning,” Ferdinand explained.
“Sometimes you’re blessed to be given a manager to learn from.
“I think Pep Guardiola coming at the time to coach this young players, who had immense potential, and the he’s got to have the attitude and the foresight to take it all in.’
“If you look at the likes of Coutinho, Hazard, they don’t get the numbers the way this guy is. Every game. His power, strength, resilience in terms of tacking tackles and staying fit.”
City return to action against Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday (12.30pm).
Sterling has scored 12 goals and provided four assists in all competitions this season and will be key if Guardiola’s side are to win the Champions League this campaign.