Soccer

Dimitri Payet: ‘I don’t have to justify my behavior’; Frenchman defends Marseille move

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Photo courtesy: Clément Bucco-Lechat/Wikimedia

Dimitri Payet has come out in public to justify his transfer from West Ham United to Marseille. The Frenchman was involved in a bitter transfer saga in which he has been criticized heavily by The Hammers chairman David Sullivan.

“[This move] is what I wanted. It was clear from the start. I didn’t feel very good over there. I wanted to be part of this project that is just getting started. It came at a time when I missed France. It was drawn out because I started my stand-off with West Ham a long time ago,” Payet said to Sky Sports.

Payet, who was forced to pay back his January wages to West Ham revealed that he had different views with The Hammers manager Slaven Bilic. The 29-year-old revealed his desire to move back to France and play for Marseille.

“I needed to come back to France to Marseille – it was a personal choice. I’m very happy. My main motivation is to play football. If I was playing for money, I’d be in another country,” Payet added.

The man from Saint-Pierre, Réunion has rejoined Marseille on a four-and-a-half-year deal. The Ligue 1 club had to shell out $31.3 million to capture the attacking midfielder and bring him back to Stade Velodrome.

The France international received a warm welcome on his return to the former club. The player thanked all the staff for doing what was needed to materialize the transfer.

Payet had a sensational last season for West Ham. The 5-ft-9 attacking midfielder scored 12 goals for The Hammers and was named in the PFA Team of the Year. However, when the winter transfer window opened in January, this year, the player refused to play for the London club and trained with the club’s U23 squad.

Payet never felt “good” at West Ham

“I had an amazing year in England. It didn’t finish how we had hoped, but I’ll have very good memories of West Ham supporters. But I didn’t feel very good over there.” Payet mentioned, according to Yahoo Sports.

Payet is expected to make his Marseille debut, for the second time on Tuesday against Lyon in the French Cup. Marseille will take on Les Gones in the last 32 round of the tournament.

The former Lille midfielder penned a new five-and-a-half-year deal with West Ham which included a $156,000-a-week pay. However, Marseille president Jacques-Henri Eyraud has revealed that Payet has accepted a significant pay cut to re-sign with the nine-time Ligue 1 champions.

Photo courtesy: Clément Bucco-Lechat/Wikimedia

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