Joey Barton has certainly given all of us a lot to talk about over the years.
The 35-year-old, who is currently serving a lengthy ban from football for breaching betting rules, has never been far from controversy since making his professional debut for Manchester City in 2002.
Barton was fined six weeks’ wages by City in December 2004 after stubbing a lit cigar in the eye of young teammate Jamie Tandy during the club’s Christmas party. Then, in May 2007, he was suspended by the club three years later after a training ground altercation with Ousmane Dabo left his teammate needing hospital treatment.
He was jailed for six months in May 2008 after admitting common assault and affray during an incident in Liverpool city centre.
He then returned to football and was banned for three matches in November 2010 for punching Blackburn’s Morten Gamst Pedersen. And two years after that he was banned by the FA for 12 games after losing his head on the final day of the season against Man City while playing for QPR.
There’s more, too, but we’d be here all day if we listed all of Barton’s misdemeanours.
Even when the Huyton-born midfielder, who made one appearance for the England national team, joined Marseille on loan during the 2012-13 campaign there were controversial incidents.
He was banned two games after describing Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva as looking like an “overweight ladyboy” on Twitter - and, of course, there was also that infamous on-pitch bust-up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Very few players would be brave enough to mock Zlatan, a black belt in Taekwondo, to his face. But as we all know, Barton is not your average footballer.
The Englishman exchanged words with the legendary Swede and then mocked the size of Ibra’s nose with a theatrical gesture.
Barton reveals what Zlatan said to him
But what did Zlatan say to wind up Barton?
Speaking to Dugout, Barton has now revealed: “Ibra didn’t like it because things weren’t going his way and he told me, in no uncertain terms, I think he called me an ‘English p***y’, which is one of the nicer things I’ve been called.
“So, I said to him ‘stop fouling me, don’t put your hands on me then the ref won’t give a foul’.
“And he’s saying, ‘ah, you’re meant to be a strong man, stay on your feet’.
“I’m like, ‘well, I’m not going to stay on my feet if you’re fouling me.
“So, I think he was calling me something else derogatory - I don’t think I can say it on the camera - and I started laughing.
“And I said, ‘yeah, yeah, I am. I might be a p***y but you’ve got a very big nose. A very, very big nose’.
“He said something back, then I made the gesture which was caught by the cameras - and this is the meme that goes around every time anything is said by me about Ibra.”
Watch Barton's interview here...
Playground stuff, really.
And here's the incident in full
Watch the incident back here…News Now - Sport News