Former West Ham midfielder Payet outlines intention to stay at Marseille

After a strong season in Ligue 1, the playmaker insists he is happy to stay put having made “sacrifices” to return to the club

Marseille star Dimitri Payet insists he is happy at the Ligue 1 club and suggested he will be staying put.

Payet, 33, helped Marseille finish second in the table – their best league campaign since 2012-13 – as the season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The midfielder scored nine goals and provided four assists in 22 Ligue 1 games, with Payet now insisting that he plans to stay at the club.

He told Eurosport:  “I worked so hard and made sacrifices to return to Marseille to be able to succeed there for a second time. I could not give up. 

“I never wanted to hear about being tired, quitting or old age. As long as all is well in my head, the legs will follow. And today, I’m a very happy person on and off the field. I will do everything to keep it going next year.”

The France international’s importance to Marseille was exemplified by comments made by head coach Andre Villas-Boas earlier this year.

Villas-Boas compared Payet to superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, before explaining his team could not make the Champions League without their playmaker.

“Barcelona are Messi dependent, Juventus are Ronaldo dependent. If we’re Payet dependent, we’re Payet dependent,” Villas-Boas said.

“But it doesn’t worry me. Good players make the difference. But I’ve got no problems handling something like that.

“Qualifying for the Champions League is not possible without a player like Dimitri Payet

“He would be missed for his quality of play but also his personality, his authority in the team.”

Payet made the move to Ligue 1 side Nantes as an 18-year-old in 2005 from local side AS Excelsior – a team situated on the French department island of Reunion.

Despite impressing in his first two seasons, Payet moved to Saint-Etienne after Nantes were relegated in 2007.

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He spent the next four seasons at Saint-Etienne, earning his first cap for France in 2010, before switching to Ligue 1 champions Lille in 2011.

Payet spent two campaigns at Lille before joining Marseille in 2013, with West Ham taking him to the Premier League in 2015.

He is now back at Marseille after being signed from the Hammers during the January transfer window in 2017.

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