Marseille midfielder Joey Barton has labelled Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez a ‘mercenary’.
The Argentine forward endured a controversial 2011/12 campaign, given leave by Roberto Mancini for failing to warm-up during a Champions League match before returning to help the club to the English Premier League title.
However, Barton – currently on loan from Queens Park Rangers – feels Tevez’s behaviour cannot be defended, and also suggests his own 12-match ban was harsh in relation to John Terry and Luis Suarez’s punishment for using racist language.
“Tevez? He’s a mercenary,” Barton told The Times.
“You can’t really back him. Sure, I’m a hoodlum, I’ve got into scrapes – but Tevez is someone who in the last six months has gone on strike, gone off to Argentina to play golf, tried to get himself sacked.
“If that’s not the epitome of what’s wrong with modern players, I don’t know what is. And don’t forget, Tevez punched me first.”
The 30-year-old clashed with Tevez and other players during QPR’s final game of the season against Manchester City, and received a 12-match ban for his dismissal and violent conduct during the incident.
And Barton believes the FA were unduly harsh on him, citing long bans other players have received as evidence for the severity of his punishment.
“The FA charged me for separate offences that took place in the same 25-second sequence,” he said.
“Yet Pablo Mills (banned for six games for fighting while with Crawley Town) threw a number of punches but was charged for one offence.
“Paolo Di Canio (banned for 11 games in 1998 while playing for Sheffield Wednesday) fights a player, gets sent off, pushes the referee over, raises his hands to Nigel Winterburn.
“In the cold light of day, no-one was dead. Aguero got a dead leg. It self-evidently didn’t affect him because 20 minutes later he was scoring the winner. Tevez and (Vincent) Kompany were fine.”