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Joey Barton banned 18 months for gambling, effectively forced to retire

The always controversial midfielder will likely never play again at the professional level.

Everton v Burnley - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It appears that the long and controversial career of Joey Barton has come to an end, at least at high levels of soccer. The 34-year-old Burnley midfielder has been banned 18 months for offenses relating to gambling.

While Barton is not suspected of match fixing, he did bet on some games that he participated in, as well as other games his team played that he was not playing in. Over a 10-year period, Barton bet on a total of 1,260 matches.

“The decision effectively forces me into an early retirement from playing football," Barton said. He admitted the charge against him, but says he will appeal the length of the ban.

Barton has been a very good player for over a decade, but he'll probably be best remembered for incidents like putting out a cigar on a teammate and getting a 12-match ban for trying to fight an entire team.

Goal of the day

Here's goalkeeper Matías Dituro of Bolivar scoring from his own box. (Guardian)

In the news

Police have made arrests after raiding Newcastle and West Ham in connection with a tax fraud investigation. (BBC)

Cristiano Ronaldo and Toni Kroos will be rested on Wednesday, while Raphael Varane has returned to the Real Madrid squad. (Managing Madrid)

Yannick Ferreira Carrasco might miss Atlético Madrid's Champions League semifinal after suffering a collarbone injury. (Into The Calderon)

The Amsterdam Arena will be renamed Johan Cruyff Arena. (Ajax)

Xavi says that an interview The Sun claimed he gave to them was fabricated. (ESPN)

Paul Pogba will miss Thursday's Manchester Derby. (The Busby Babe)

You should be reading

Miles Taylor on the ultras of Atlanta Silverbacks before Atlanta United existed. (In Bed With Maradona)

Ricci Potts on the incredible legacy of the 2011-12 Pescara squad. (The Gentlemen Ultra)

Louise Taylor on Sunderland vs. Middlesbrough, the Derby Of Doom. (Guardian)

What happened on Tuesday

Chelsea had little problem beating Southampton. (We Ain't Got No History)

Villarreal beat Atléti, spicing up La Liga's Champions League race. (Into The Calderon)

What to watch on Wednesday (click for listings, all times ET)

La Liga: Four games (from 1:30 p.m.) — Barca is on early, Madrid two hours later.

Premier League: Three games (from 2:45 p.m.) — Games in every race: title, top four and relegation.

DFB-Pokal: Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund (2:45 p.m.) — Both teams really need to win this to save their seasons.