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Joey Barton gets three week suspension after Rangers bust-up

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What you see is what you get with Joey Barton but it appears it is too much for Glasgow Rangers to handle.

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Barton, 34, was sent home from Rangers’ training ground last Thursday, didn’t feature in the 0-0 draw at Ross County at the weekend and was told to come back on Monday after a heated exchange with teammate Andy Halliday in the aftermath of Rangers’ shocking 5-1 defeat to Old Firm rivals Celtic.

On Monday morning, following a meeting with manager Mark Warburton, Rangers released a statement which confirmed Barton has been suspended for three weeks after his actions.

Here is the statement in full from the Scottish Premiership club:

Joey Barton has today been suspended by the club and will not return to Ibrox or Auchenhowie for a period of three weeks. The manager, Mark Warburton, and club believe that time and space is required for both the club and the player to assess all that has happened. Neither party will make any further statement or comment on this issue.

Barton was seen leaving their Ibrox home on Monday after a meeting with manager Mark Warburton and although he declined to comment about that meeting, when asked if he was still a Rangers player he simply said: “I think so.”

Since the incident occurred last week and during his initial time away from the club, Barton sent out a lengthy message on Twitter where he apologized for his actions but also said “saying sorry doesn’t always mean you are wrong.” He then went on national radio in the UK and talked about the incident further. That won’t have gone done well with the Rangers hierarchy.

We all know about Barton’s past and it is difficult to see if he has a future at Rangers after the latest in a long line of spats involving the Manchester City academy product who has one cap for the English national team.

During his time at Man City he was handed a two-month suspended sentence by the police for beating up teammate Ousmane Dabo in 2007, plus put a cigarette out in the eye of youth team player in 2004. Barton was also sentenced to four months in jail in 2008 after being involved in a street fight in his home city of Liverpool. On the pitch he has been banned numerous times by the English FA during his spells at Man City, Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers.

Still outspoken on social media and in rare media appearances, Barton seemed to be finally settling down as he played 38 times for Burnley last season and was in the PFA Championship Team of the Year as they won promotion to the Premier League. However, despite being offered a new contract Barton decided to leave England and make a very surprising move to Rangers who had just returned to Scotland’s top-flight four years after being demoted to the bottom division due to financial mismanagement.

Now, Rangers knew what they were getting into with Barton and if this incident with Halliday was only a verbal disagreement, as it’s been widely reported, then a three-week ban seems very excessive. These kind of bust-ups happen more often than you think on training grounds.

Then again, when Barton is involved things always seem to be a lot more sinister and we don’t know exactly what was said by the talented yet troubled Englishman. Perhaps his meeting with Warburton turned sour quickly. We will find out in due course but sadly this was an incident many could see happening a mile off.

Fernandes scores first goal, says Ronaldo backed Manchester United move

Bruno Fernandes Ronaldo
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It’s probably not a surprise that a young Portuguese player would fancy Manchester United given the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford early his career.

Bruno Fernandes admits that those images danced through his head well before he signed with the Red Devils in January.

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It’s also not a shock that United would turn to their former player for a take on the playmaker before buying him from Sporting Lisbon.

Fernandes says he’s grateful that CR7 endorsed BF18. From Sky Sports:

“I know some people asked Cristiano what he thought of me and what I was like as a player and a person,” Fernandes said. “I know he spoke highly of me and gave me a good reference, so I sent him a message after to thank him for his kind words.”

Fernandes has 19 caps and two goals for Portugal, while Ronaldo has a few more with 164 and 99.

He now has a goal and an assist in four appearances for United. Ronaldo finished with 118 goals and 69 assists in 292 appearances for the Red Devils.

Here’s the finish:

Eden Hazard suffers fracture ahead of Man City in UCL, El Clasico

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Eden Hazard is set to miss the Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League first leg against Man City with a broken fibula.

Hazard had only returned to the lineup for two matches following a three-month absence with an ankle injury.

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The 29-year-old has made just 15 appearances for Real since arriving in a big-money move from Chelsea, scoring once with five assists.

He has never appeared in less than 30 league matches over the course of his career, five times missing one or zero matches.

Of course, all of his absences show that Real is very comfortable playing and winning without Hazard. Zinedine Zidane’s men lost Sunday to drop behind Barcelona in La Liga, but that was just its second loss of the league season.

Real will be taxed in depth like its rivals, with Wednesday’s visit from Man City followed by an El Clasico at the Bernabeu on March 1. Barcelona hosts Napoli on Tuesday.

Whether you like the playmaker or despise him, there must be some sense of sympathy for his latest ailments (even if Man City and Barca fans will likely offer a Jerry Seinfeld-esque, “That’s a shame”).

Watch Live: Manchester United, Wolves host bottom three battlers

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A pair of Premier League basement dwellers face stiff tests in their bids to win another season in the top flight.

Manchester United hosts Watford on NBCSN while Wolves welcome Norwich City on CNBC as both home sides aim to improve the health of their top four hopes in 9 a.m. ET kickoffs.

[ WATCH: Man Utd-Watford | Wolves-Norwich ]

Lineups notes from both matches:


Manchester United



Norwich City

Three Serie A matches suspended due to virus deaths in Italy

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ROME (AP) Three Serie A soccer matches scheduled for Sunday in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto were suspended late Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the virus from China.

On orders from the Italian government, the games called off were: Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria, Atalanta vs. Sassuolo and Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari.

Three other matches in Genoa, Turin and Rome on Sunday are going ahead as scheduled.

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A dozen towns in northern Italy effectively went into lockdown on Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the coronavirus from China, and a growing cluster of cases with no direct links to the origin of the outbreak abroad.

“The government is working on urgent measures to decisively confront and contain the cases of coronavirus contagion,” read a letter from Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora to Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago shortly before midnight local time on Saturday. “Those measures also include the sports world in order to prevent risks and to better take care of the health of those involved in the events and competition.

“Following measures taken by the cabinet for protective reasons and maximum precaution, on orders of the government I’m asking you to suspend all sports events of every level and discipline planned for the Lombardy and Veneto regions on Sunday.”

The secondary contagions prompted local authorities in the Lombardy and Veneto regions to close schools, businesses and restaurants and to cancel sporting events and Masses.

The mayor of Milan, Italy’s business capital and the regional capital of Lombardy, shuttered public offices.

A 78-year-old man infected with the virus died in Veneto. A postmortem on a 77-year-old woman in Lombardy came back positive, though it wasn’t clear if illness from the virus caused her death.

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