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“It wasn’t something that played on my mind at all,” Sterling told reporters ahead of Chelsea’s home game against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

“I can’t let an incident from individuals change my perception of the club.

“I have no hatred or malice towards the individual.”

Sterling, who won four league titles with City, said it had opened the door for him to understand what his “true purpose is other than football”.

“Of course, football is my main goal and my main talent, but it’s the other thing that gives me the most joy. That’s helping people ... I’ve moved away from the racial side of it and am focused more on helping and nurturing young Black people.”

Chelsea, who finished third last season, beat Everton in their Premier League opener.

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