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“That gave me the opportunity to fly in, and disguise my malicious intent as best as I could.”
Joey Barton has admitted in his new book that he deliberately tried to hurt Xabi Alonso with a horror challenge in 2009. Barton, now at Rangers, has always courted controversy, and this stunning admission will earn the former Newcastle midfielder few admirers.
The 34 year old explains in his book – titled ‘No Nonsense’ that he always held a grudge against Alonso after Rafa Benitez opted to sign the Spaniard instead of him;
“Xabi and I had history. He blamed me for knocking him out in what he thought was a deliberate clash of heads in one of our earliest contests, and I blamed him for stealing my move to Liverpool. All that remained to be agreed with City was the fee, when Rafa Benitez took over from Gerard Houllier.”
Barton bided his time, and flew into a reckless two footed tackle when his Newcastle lost 3-0 at Anfield on May 3rd, 2009. Unsurprisingly, his premeditated lunge earned him a straight red card, and his manager Alan Shearer expressed his disgust at the tackle in a post-match interview.
Barton’s book is being serialized in the Echo, and he wrote of the tackle;
“(In 2009) Thirteen minutes remained. Liverpool were two up, cruising and playing keep ball. The Kop conducted an incessant, infuriating chant of ‘Ole, ole, ole!’
“Xabi retained the ball near the corner flag fractionally longer than was prudent. That gave me the opportunity to fly in, and disguise my malicious intent as best as I could. Alonso milked the moment with a barrel roll. I expected a yellow and was shown a red.”
Barton has been embroiled in controversy in recent weeks. First, a training ground bust up at Rangers made the news, and the Liverpool native is now being investigated for a gambling offence.