Raheem Sterling has another present for his mother after netting a rapid hat-trick in Manchester City’s Champions League thrashing of Atalanta.
The England forward struck three times in the space of just 11 second-half minutes as City, who trailed early in the match, ran out 5-1 winners in the Group C clash at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
It was the 24-year-old’s fifth treble for club or country, his fourth this calendar year and second this season, earning him another matchball for a growing collection.
“They are at my mum’s house in Jamaica,” he said of his previous prizes.
“I’ve put them in a little glass box and I’ve bought an extra six cases just in case I do score a hat-trick, so I can put it straight in a case and give it to her. So, I’ll give it to my mum to put away.”
Sterling’s scintillating display put the gloss on a fine comeback from City after a Sergio Aguero double had cancelled out Ruslan Malinovskyi’s penalty opener for the visitors.
The victory took City five points clear at the top of their group and within touching distance of the last 16 with three games still to play.
There were downsides for City with Phil Foden sent off for two bookable offences late on and Rodri hobbling off with a hamstring injury.
But it was Sterling who grabbed the headlines as he took his goal tally for the campaign to 16 in 17 matches, including his double for England in Bulgaria earlier this month.
His contribution also included providing the cross for Aguero’s first goal and winning the penalty for the Argentinian’s second. He should also have scored a fourth but shot wide after going though on goal.
City and Sterling will now turn their attention back to their Premier League title defence and Saturday’s clash with Aston Villa.
“I’m thriving on just waiting for the next game really,” said Sterling.
“I’ve scored a hat-trick and (now) I’m waiting for the weekend to hopefully get some chances and be involved again to score some goals.
“I think that’s where I’m at at the moment. This has gone now and I’m looking forward to the next one.”
City will assess Rodri but he could be out for between 10 days and a month.
The midfielder had again been playing in a makeshift central defence alongside Fernandinho when he went down late in the first half and had to be helped from the field.