Balotelli has Barton backing

Rangers midfielder is a fan of controversial youngster

Mario Balotelli: Has a fan in QPR midfielder Joey Barton

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QPR midfielder Joey Barton has defended Manchester City man Mario Balotelli, insisting the striker's exploits get "blown out of proportion".

Balotelli has caused a stir since arriving in the Premier League from Inter Milan last year after being involved in a string of controversial incidents on and off the pitch.

Barton is no stranger to being in the headlines for the wrong reasons himself, and the Rangers man has voiced his support for the 21-year-old.

He told FourFourTwo: "I find him really amusing. He's just a young boy trying to find his way in life.

"Some of the things he has done are petty but they get blown out of all proportion.

"On the flipside of that you've got golden boy (Arsenal midfielder) Jack Wilshere, who's done a lot worse things than Balotelli yet it's massively played down.

"He and Balotelli are having the same sort of problems off the pitch but one is perceived to be a goody two shoes!"