Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho has publicly defended his teammate Raheem Sterling, over the tirade of criticism regarding a new tattoo earlier this week.
Sterling generated headlines after a new tattoo on his right leg, which depicts an assault rifle, was photographed during England training. Many have since come out in support of Sterling against what appears to be a campaign against the star from The Sun and some sections of the tabloid press.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Fernandinho was quick to jump to the aid of the City forward stating his disbelief how people can 'treat him like that', but adds he admires his coping skills in the face of further social media criticism.
Fernandinho said: "I don't know why the people treat him like that. They write about him and you can see some pursue it against him.
"He's a lovely guy, nice guy, and every day he's up, he's happy, and I'm so glad to share the dressing room with him."
With Sterling set to star for England at the World in Russia beginning in a fortnight, the 23-year-old took to social media on Monday as he trained with the Three Lions at St. Georges' Park to unveil show off his latest ink.
According to the man himself, the design was mean to representing the promise he made to his deceased father, who was gunned down, to never touch a gun. However, the motif of such a weapon on his leg has perhaps unsurprisingly garnered the wrath of some in the tabloids and on social media, with some going as far as to claim Sterling should not play for his country in Russia.
Fernandinho however is staggered by the reaction of the media and general public, and speaks of another account of intense scrutiny the England man - who scored 18 goals and notched 11 assists this past term - has been subjected to. The Brazilian has stated Sterling's importance to the Citizens.
"I'm glad because we have him", the midfielder said. "He's a lovely guy and he never gives up, even with a lot of criticism about him and his football.
"He's one of our top players. He decided so many games for us this season and was so important for us."