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Barton: They built me up into a Neymar-Messi type

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 8 Dec 2016

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Former Rangers midfielder Joey Barton said he was hyped up to be a Lionel Messi or Neymar type of player by the Scottish media.

Barton endured a forgettable spell in Glasgow, parting ways with Rangers last month after his time at Ibrox turned sour following a training incident involving Andy Halliday.

The one-time capped England international and Halliday clashed after September’s 5-1 Old Firm defeat to bitter rivals Celtic and he was initially suspended for three weeks before that ban was extended.

Despite making just eight appearances, Barton – who is training with former club Burnley in the Premier League – does not regret signing for the Rangers.

“I’d still have signed for Rangers – it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass,” Barton told BBC Radio 5 live.

“It’s a great football club, it’s somewhere if they get it right it is a phenomenal place – it’s completely unique.

“[But] the media were quite critical of me when I was up there.

“That’s the nature of the industry when you’re Joey Barton and you go and play for Rangers who are a massive club in Scotland.

“You’re going to get criticism if you don’t play fantastically well and I didn’t play fantastically well there, albeit I only lasted eight games.

“The difficulty for me lay in the fact that before I went up there they kind of built me into this Neymar, Messi kind of player, which I wasn’t.

“I’m a player that’s never been blessed with an enormous amount of talent, speed, tricks. I’m somebody who has always served the higher purpose in terms of the team, always done well when that’s been at the fore. I’ve never done particularly well when the onus has been on me to go on and create and do things.

“Everyone was saying ‘you’ve been caught out by the standard of Scottish football, you’ve looked down your nose at Scottish football’. I didn’t. I knew what I was getting into.”

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