'Mercenary' Carlos Tevez is all that's wrong with football, says Barton

Marseille midfielder Joey Barton has labelled Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez a "mercenary", suggesting the striker represents "what's wrong with modern players".

The Argentine forward endured a controversial 2011-12 campaign, being placed on gardening leave by Roberto Mancini for failing to warm up during a Champions League before returning to lead the club to the Premier League title.

However, Barton - currently on loan from QPR - 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 punishment for using racist language.

"Tevez? He's a mercenary", Barton told The Times.
 

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"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 midfielder 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 added.

"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 Kompany were fine."

Barton thinks the FA have harmed themselves with the length of his ban in relation to the punishments handed down to John Terry and Luis Suarez, both found guilty of using racist language on the football pitch.

"I think the FA reckoned I'd appeal and they could make it nine games," he continued. "Maybe by not appealing I won a small, perverse victory. Because it makes them look bad. John Terry got four games. Luis Suarez eight. So I'm Terry plus Suarez?

"What it says is, if I'd racially abused the City players I'd have got a lot less than for 30 seconds of the red mist descending. What message does that send to kids? Where does that leave 'Kick Racism Out Of Football'?"

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