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Joey Barton joins Rangers for return to Scottish Premiership

The controversial English midfielder, who previously played for Manchester City and Newcastle, has left Burnley after ending the season as player of the year.

Joey Barton joined Scottish giants Rangers

Joey Barton has joined Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers on a free transfer after the former England midfielder decided to leave Burnley despite their promotion to the Premier League. The ex-Manchester City and Newcastle star was voted Burnley's player of the year for his influential role in their Championship title-winning campaign and he was offered a new contract to remain at Turf Moor next season.

But the 33-year-old spoke directly with Ibrox boss Mark Warburton who convinced him to join Rangers, who won promotion back to the Scottish Premiership this season a few weeks ago. He has signed a two-year contract with Rangers after passing a medical at the club's Auchenhowie training base.

Barton, who was given a guided tour of Ibrox by Warburton last week, took to Twitter to confirm his exit from Burnley.

Paying tribute to the Clarets faithful, he said: "Thanks to all the Burnley fans and everyone connected to the club. Amazing support this year that will live with me for a lifetime.

"Toughest decision of my professional life to leave an amazing set of people and a phenomenal culture behind. Club is in a great place on and off the pitch with great custodians at the helm. Thanks again for the opportunity to represent your club. I was presented with an opportunity and challenge the competitive animal in me just could not turn down. Onwards and upwards now."

Barton becomes Rangers' fourth close-season signing, joining Accrington pair Josh Windass and Matt Crooks as well as former Liverpool midfielder Jordan Rossiter. Although promotion after several years out of the league was the number one goal for this season, a semi-final win over rivals Celtic set up a great opportunity to win the Scottish Cup to add to their silverware haul. A last gasp Hibs winner prevented the perfect end to a very positive campaign.

Warburton will see the signing as a major coup as he prepares to do battle with Scottish champions Celtic and their new manager Brendan Rodgers next term.