Joey Barton’s ‘inner chimp’ was unleashed during his Manchester City madness last season, the Marseille midfielder is claiming.
The 30-year-old is still banned for nine matches after receiving a 12-game suspension for elbowing Carlos Tevez, kicking out at Sergio Aguero and headbutting Vincent Kompany during Rangers’ 3-2 loss at the Etihad on the last day of the season.
And after being stripped of his captaincy by manager Mark Hughes, Barton was forced to play his football in France until he is eligible to return to the Premier League – something that the former Newcastle man regrets.
“I completely let myself down but it’s not a rational situation,” he said. “I knew we could be relegated, they could win the league and I’m captain. There’s a bit of a media spotlight on me so if we go down, I’m going to take a lot of s***.
“I was already getting it on Twitter so pressure started building and I didn’t handle it well. My inner chimp doesn’t work well with injustice, it reacts too quickly.
“Tevez has done what he’s done, I have reacted. I look at it now and it’s almost like it’s not me. I’m like ‘What the f*** were you thinking?’
“At the time in some weird way I thought it was the correct way but, looking at it now, I know it wasn’t. I’ve got to learn a lesson from that. The thing it reiterated to me was just how far I am from the person I want to be.”
Four years ago, Barton was jailed for assault and affray – one year after attacking former City teammate Ousmane Dabo – and he completed anger management classes as well as participatin in addiction support groups.
“I was on a journey and I have a really inquisitive mind so I wanted to learn more,” Barton said. “I used to go to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings just because I was interested in what people were saying.
“I even went to NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings and I’ve never touched a drug in my life. Anything that gets you out of your cell is a bonus.”