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Excluded. Dimitri Payet (Marseille): “A big brother role”

Four years after his injury exit in Olympique de Marseille’s 3-0 loss to Atlético in the 2018 UEFA Europa League final, Dimitri Payet and OM face Feyenoord for a place in the final of the first UEFA Europa Conference League.

After scoring an anthology goal in the quarter-finals, he hopes to offer a trophy to the boiling Olympian fans. Feyenoord in the semi-finals, a big Dutch club, with an atmosphere there that’s going to be pretty much the same as the Velodrome, is that perfect for you?
Dimitri Payet:
Yes, I think we had a good training with this trip to Greece, with a very, very warm public. So we obviously expect a very difficult match, at home, which they will want to win. It’s up to us to take this match as we took the others, with the idea of ​​putting our game in place and trying to put them in difficulty as much as possible.

What did you expect on July 3, 2013 when you joined Olympique de Marseille?
I expected to arrive in an important club, in the biggest French club, with all that is around, the expectation of the supporters, this daily pressure and the fact of having to play with that, to have to win his place in a team that was already well built, so more questions than relief.

In two minutes, PAOK 0-1 Marseille

Nine years later, it seems that you feed on this pressure, this fervor around OM…
Yes because it’s a bit my vision of football too. I played in Nantes, in Saint-Étienne, in Lille in the new stadium and here in Marseille. I also chose my clubs in relation to that, in relation to the stadium, in relation to the atmosphere there can be in those stadiums because I am not a player who would like to play in an empty stadium or in a lower capacity stadium. I like these atmospheres, whether at home or outside for that matter, and that’s what galvanizes. But it’s true that here, I live close to the stadium, I’m in the city, I’m constantly reminded by the fans about a match, about an action, about the end of the season, about lots of things. There’s always something to say about OM so it’s sure that by living in Marseille, you can’t escape this fervor.

Dimitri Payet in numbers

Date and place of birth : March 29, 1987, Saint-Pierre, Reunion
Cut : 1.75m
Matches/goals in UEFA club competition: 62/14
National matches/goals:

As captain, you have to deal in the locker room with some young people who tease you, how are you as captain?
As I have already said many times, I do not have the soul of a captain. Time and experience have given me the armband today, with Steve (Mandanda). But I’m more of a technical leader in the field, more of someone who will lead his team, but without necessarily having a speech. I have but it’s rare, when I really feel it’s useful. But I have more of a role of big brother, of advising young people. We have very good young people, we have to guide them so that they can take us far too because it is our future.

This crazy goal against PAOK at the Vélodrome, how many times have you tried this style of recovery without shaking the net?
Honestly, in that position at that distance, not that much. It’s more of a half-volley move that you try in training or on finishing work, but I think that night I was in the right place at the right time and I took it like he needed. Afterwards, there is also success because I think I can try it again a bunch of times and it will never be as good so I enjoy it because it’s a goal that will remain and it’s a goal that will count above all.

Payet, his volley from all angles

Three goals and three assists in the Conference League this season, I imagine European matches transcend you…
Yes, it’s completely different. Without disrespecting our championship, as soon as we hear the European Cup, in this club it’s more special. For having lived the epic in 2017/18, we feel that it is different and we felt it there in this quarter-final. We felt it on the way. We have the half coming with the return home, it will start to tickle the world, to make noise, to make people talk and it is something exceptional to live a European epic in this club.

In two minutes, Marseille 3-1 Qarabağ

In 2018, you injured yourself just before the final, is this a revenge on fate for you and also for the team?
On the other hand, I don’t know, that’s how injuries happen in football. You can get hurt at the start of the season as you can get hurt, unfortunately, before a European Cup final, it’s sad but you have to live with it. Today, if we are lucky enough to be able to afford a European Cup final, we will do whatever it takes. The objective is to have two matches to go and afford this final. We have to manage with the championship, we have to make the necessary efforts to be good in the two competitions we have left, but we feel that the stadium will be full until the end of the season because the supporters are there. and they expect a positive end to the season.

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