LONDON (Sporting Alert) — Outspoken QPR midfielder Joey Barton has come out to defend Mario Balotelli and launched an astonishing Twitter rant on Brendan Rodgers and Jordan Henderson over the recent penalty kick incident.
Balotelli was heavily criticized by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who says he showed “disrespect” by taking the penalty ahead of stand in skipper Henderson in Thursday night’s Europa League 1-0 victory over Besiktas.
Several pundits and media outlets agreed with Gerrard and said Balotelli showed a lack of respect after the public disagreement.
However, Barton, who has had his own share of run-ins with the former Manchester City forward, has come out to defend the controversial Italian striker.
“I’ve been critical of him at times,” the QPR player said on his official Twitter Account. “But it’s not Balotelli’s fault people over hyped the reality. Get off his case. He’s doing better.”
The 32-year-old also touched on who he thought should have taken the penalty kick, while adding that Gerrard and Liverpool boss Rodgers both know that Henderson is not a future Reds skipper.
“If Balotelli’s on the pitch and its him or Henderson on a penalty to save your life? Who you gonna let take it? #nobrainer.
“Can’t believe people getting on Balotelli. He is technically better at penalties than Henderson. He pulled rank. Scored. End of.”
He added: “Surprised Gerrard allowed himself to be drawn into the anti-Balotelli brigade’s crusade. He’s better than that.
“Contrary to some people beliefs Jordan Henderson will not now or will he ever be even in the same stratosphere as Steven Gerrard.
“Anyone who thinks he will replace Gerrard, short, medium or long term is deluded. Even Brendan [Rodgers] knows he’s bulls**ting when he says it.
“Going against managers orders? Do me a favour? Players aren’t robots. There is structure in place. If it gets broken to win a match? So…
“Someone somewhere trying to make Henderson, heir to Gerrard’s throne. It will end in tears. He isn’t and will never be capable. Not many are.”
Barton continued: “Heard about Henderson getting told by Rodgers to grab England captain’s armband if Rooney goes off. He tried Rooney rightly jogged him on.
“Wearing armbands. Trying to impersonate legends is admirable but will end in tears because it’s not genuine. Henderson should be himself.
“He is great at being himself. Much better than trying to be a Steven Gerrard clone. You can’t copy what SG had. Talent.
“Anyway, off to get the train to Hull now. Focus and big effort tomo. Big R’s following going up. Hopefully we repay them with 3 points.”