Barton: Media intrusion in England is excessive

The Marseille midfielder has pointed to the accusations of diving recently aimed at Gareth Bale as evidence that journalists victimise professional footballers
Marseille midfielder Joey Barton has hit out at what he believes is "excessive" intrusion from the press in England.

The Englishman, who is on a season-long loan with the French side from QPR, highlighted the recent furore over diving as evidence of unfair coverage.

He also insisted Gareth Bale has been targeted by journalists for his part in the controversy.

"The media follow the game to an almost excessive point in England. We have to adjust accordingly," Barton told BBC Radio 5 Live's Kicking Off.

"The players need to take responsibility for their actions. We know what comes with the territory. I come onto the pitch carrying all the baggage. Gareth Bale has been a victim of the media baggage recently.

"Referees and linesmen read newspapers as well. They're not oblivious to what's going on. But it comes with the territory and you have to be cuter and a little cleverer in what you do.

"People make personal judgements on what they read in the newspaper. I don't hold any grudges about it though. I know I'm flawed and that I make a lot of bad decisions but I try to see the lighter side of things."

Barton was forced to serve a 12-game ban at the start of the campaign after being found guilty of violent conduct for his actions in the final game of last season.

The 30-year-old saw red after clashing with Manchester City duo Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero, and attempted to headbutt Vincent Kompany as he was dragged from the pitch.

However, he has now admitted to feeling remorse over the situation, adding: "The way I handled the last day of last season wasn't right. But the power of hindsight is a great thing. We'd all do things differently with a bit of time to think about it.

"For me, I tend not to act well instantly; I get in a lot of trouble when I let my emotions get the better of me. I'd love to go back and alter the course of events and I'd try not to react to [Carlos] Tevez.

"Albeit, he hit me in the face. I can't condone what I did and I accepted the ban. Somehow I've ended up in the south of France and I've had a new lease of life."