Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he was proud of Raheem Sterling for the way the forward has fought against racial injustice.
Sterling has enjoyed another fine season on the pitch, but the England international is also helping the fight against racism amid movements around the world.
The forward scored a hat-trick in City’s 5-0 Premier League thrashing of Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, moving onto 27 goals this season – the most he has netted in a single campaign.
While Guardiola has praised Sterling’s performances, he also lauded the 25-year-old for his work off the field.
“People forget that behind the shirt they are human beings,” he told reporters.
“I’ve said many times to my players, ‘I know for a long time you’ve been told you’re special, but you’re not. All you can do is play football, but you are not an architect, you are not a politician, you are not a doctor, you are not a thousand, million things you can do. You can just play football’. That doesn’t make us special.
“But we are human beings at the same time like all the architects, politicians, doctors, journalists. They have feelings and they defend the humanitarian issues in the best possible way.
“I like it because when you have a commitment to society to make a better society for yourself and for your kids, this commitment helps to become a better player. The big athletes always make a commitment, a compromise for society.
“I think Raheem and many, many of our players, a lot of people are trying to make a better world.
“It’s difficult, in the world we’re living, but I’m proud. I’m really proud of what he is doing and he knows, as a club, myself as a person, we support him 100 per cent.”
After back-to-back 5-0 wins, City host Bournemouth in the Premier League on Wednesday.