Barton, 25, punched former Manchester City colleague Ousmane Dabo up to five times, leaving him unconscious and covered in blood on the ground.

The Newcastle midfielder had claimed he acted in self-defence but changed his plea to guilty ahead of a scheduled trial at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

On Tuesday he was given a four month suspended sentence.

Frenchman Dabo was knocked unconscious in an "explosive combination of football and violence", the court heard.

Dabo, 31, pushed Barton's shoulder and was knocked unconscious.

Eyewitnesses recalled Barton getting on top of the player and repeatedly hitting him.

One player, Georgios Samaras, said he had never seen such a violent incident on a football pitch in his entire career. Samaras stated he would "never forget it".

Barton had strenuously denied the assault but changed his plea to guilty after learning he was likely to receive a suspended sentence.