Joey Barton, the enfant terrible of English soccer, is up to his old tricks again.
Barton clashed with an opponent during a French Cup game Wednesday. He didn’t seem to care that his adversary happened to be Zlatan Ibrahimovic — the biggest star in Ligue 1 (France’s first division).
The two players were jumping to head a ball out of the air when they collided. Ibrahimovic appeared to lead with his elbow, knocking the smaller Barton to the ground, so the Englishman naturally had some choice words for the Swedish star.
They jawed back and forth before Barton made light of Ibrahimovic’s appearance, mocking the size and shape of his nose. The light-hearted moment eased the tension as the game between rivals Olympique Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) could have turned nasty. It allowed the focus to return to David Beckham who was making his full debut for PSG.
Ibrahimovic divides opinions in the soccer world. Some see his dazzling goals and bevy of league titles as proof that he is one of the best players of his generation. Others point to his record in big games and say he’s as overrated as they come. But there is no question that he’s got a big nose and that’s where Barton took aim.
The Olympique Marseille midfielder is spending the season on-loan from QPR. It’s pretty safe to say that France hasn’t changed Barton. It’s much more likely that Barton has changed France.
Watch Barton mock Ibrahimovic in the video below.