English football’s controversial outcast Joey Barton has recently claimed he would be happy to see out the rest of his career at Marseille as the midfielder continues to settle down into his loan spell – much to the delight of many English fans.
Barton, who left British shores this summer, has reportedly found a new lease of life on the south France coast away from intrusive media and bear-bating football fans. Indeed, so comfortable is he at Marseille that the 30-year-old may make his move permanent.
“If it was my choice, I’d stay here for the rest of my career,” Barton told RMC Radio. “Coming to Marseille is one of the best decisions I’ve taken. I’m very happy to be here.
“I love this place and I’ve got a great relationship with people here, the coaching staff, the players and the fans. I feel right at home.”
As nice as it is to see an English export doing well in a foreign land, many punters at Betfair football forums hope Barton stays in France for good. For the bad boy of English football’s red card at Manchester City on the final game of last season, earning him a 12-game ban, stretched many people’s patience to the limit.
The FA clearly used Barton as an example to other players to tone down their bad behaviour and took action after a series of incidents throughout his Premier League career that tarnished any reputation gained by actual football.
Indeed, at QPR last season Barton consistently turned out below-par performances to a team struggling with relegation. That dismissal against City epitomised his spell at QPR: a disaster that did more harm than good to Mark Hughes’ side.
Now at Marseille, who have recovered from a slump in league form to climb up to fourth, many will hope Barton does well and stays out of the limelight. Few clubs would gamble on him again in English football and so Ligue 1 serenity is the best place for him to be.