Barton: I'm too clever to play football
Joey Barton normally leaves the world of football speechless with his outbursts of outrageous on-pitch violence - but now he has the game stunned into silence by claiming that he is "too intelligent to be a footballer".
The 30-year-old - currently on loan at Marseille from QPR - made the claims in two newspaper interviews on Sunday.
His assertion prompted widespread derision on Twitter, with former Arsenal star Mikael Silvestre saying that, "the uneducated Joey Barton is fascinating for the degree of his stupidity, his ego and his megalomania."
Barton is finally eligible to play for his new team after completing a 12-match ban imposed for his dismissal on the last day of the season against Manchester City. The former Newcastle player earned perhaps the ultimate red card by elbowing Carlos Tevez, kicking Sergio Aguero and attempting to headbutt Vincent Kompany in an extraordinary sequence of events.
QPR were furious at their player's actions and vowed that he would not play for them again. The London club had been on course to earn a memorable victory, but after going a man down they conceded two late goals to hand City the match and the Premier League title.
And while QPR are in trouble and in need of new blood, Barton - who was once jailed for punching a man 20 times in a late night attack at McDonalds - has insisted that he would resist any call to return to Loftus Road, saying that he had only gone there in the first place to line his pockets.
"When I went to QPR it was a choice dictated by money. I didn’t like what I had done, and I swore I’d never do that again," said the midfielder, who once attacked team-mate Ousmane Dabo so violently that he pled guilty to a charge of ABH.
“It was the first time in my life that I had taken a decision for money. I did it because my partner was due to give birth – but I did not feel good about it," Barton added, explaining that money had only ever caused him trouble and saying that his life in prison was all the better for the lack of it.
"The more money you have, the more problems you have. When I was in prison I got £7 a week, and that was simpler – you’d use the £7 to buy food and that was it."