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Monday 22 September 2014

Marseille boss gives Barton backing

Published 06/01/2013 | 12:10

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Marseille could be interested in retaining Joey Barton beyond his season-long loan

Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo has praised Joey Barton and suggested the Ligue 1 club would be interested in retaining the midfielder beyond his season-long loan from QPR.

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The 30-year-old Barton was sent out on loan by the London club in disgrace last summer following his red card shame at Manchester City, which brought him a 12-match ban. But Barton has flourished in France where, after being made to serve his ban, he has quickly become a key cog in a Marseille side in a three-way tie with Paris St Germain and Lyon at the top of Ligue 1.

And Anigo insisted Barton's impact had come as no surprise to him and he told L'Equipe: "He was described as an animal, but he is just the opposite. He is funny, intelligent, and he fights for victory."

He added: "We can see that the team has been lifted by his competitive spirit. He is now established as a leader in our group.

"He is very happy here, maybe he has found the right club for him. Should he desire (to stay) it could be very good. We have a very good relationship with his club QPR."

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