Joey Barton would usually be delighted to hear that a player of Juan Mata’s calibre had been compared to him, but the controversial midfielder was fuming on this occasion.
Dave Kidd did the Mirror’s player ratings for West Brom v Manchester United on Sunday afternoon and handed Mata a 3/10 rating after the Spanish playmaker was sent off in the first half for two foolish yellow cards.
On Mata, Kidd wrote: “Mr Nice Guy played as if possessed by Joey Barton.”
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Barton was made aware of this on Twitter and failed to see the funny side.
“Where was that?” Barton hit back. “Another sloppy, lazy, rude piece of journalism. What Mata did was dumb. Even by my old standards.”
Barton is behaving himself at Burnley
Barton clearly feels that he’s a reformed character these days and it’s hard to disagree.
Now at Burnley, the 33-year-old has steered clear of controversy and could find himself back in the Premier League next season. Sean Dyche’s side are top of the Championship with 11 matches remaining and are on course to secure automatic promotion.
His last red card came in February 2015
Barton’s last red card came in February 2015, when he was sent off while playing for Queens Park Rangers against Hull City. The former Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder threw a punch at Tom Huddlestone’s midriff and was given his marching orders.
“As a 32-year-old with a few hundred Premier League appearances, someone who’s been captain of the club for a while, with a very public profile, I should know a lot better,” Barton tweeted, per the Guardian, after picking up the ninth red card of his career.
“As one of the tallest trees, you catch the most wind. I won’t shy away from it. It would have been easy for me to put my head down and say I’m not speaking but I’m a man of substance and a man of principle. When things go good you front up, equally when things go bad.”
And who can forget that red card v Man City
One of Barton’s most infamous red cards came against his former employers Manchester City, again while playing for QPR, in May 2012.
Referee Mike Dean showed Barton a straight red card after he elbowed Carlos Tevez off the ball. He then reacted by kneeing Sergio Aguero and putting his head in on Mario Balotelli before heading off to the visitors dressing room.
It was a huge moment in that particular match. Man City went on to win the game 3-2, with Aguero scoring the last-gasp winner in stoppage time to wrap up the Premier League title for the Citizens.
Time will tell whether this dark side of Barton’s character will emerge again during his playing career.
Is Joey Barton a reformed character now? Have your say by leaving a comment below.