French midfielder Dimitri Payet has been cleared to leave Marseille with one year left on his contract (Nicolas TUCAT)
Veteran Marseille midfielder and former captain Dimitri Payet has been cleared to leave the Ligue 1 club before the final year of his contract, club president Pablo Longoria confirmed Friday.
“We have decided not to continue the adventure together with our captain. It took many weeks of reflection, of discussion,” Longoria told a press conference alongside Payet at the Velodrome stadium.
The 36-year-old former France international, who had been under contract until June 2024, tearfully told journalists he wanted to “continue to play football” after “a very difficult season with little playing time”.
He added he now wished to give himself “time” to decide on his future.
Payet has played eight-and-a-half seasons over two spells with Marseille, either side of a two-year stint with Premier League side West Ham, featuring in 326 matches and scoring 78 goals, but without winning a trophy.
He also played for Ligue 1 sides Lille, Saint-Etienne and Nantes.
During his interlude at West Ham from 2015 to 2017, he made 49 appearances and scored 11 goals before returning to Marseille.
But Payet never managed to fit into the plans of ex-coach Igor Tudor in his final season. He appeared only 26 times, scoring four goals, generally grabbing a few minutes at the end of a game in a season when Marseille finished third in Ligue 1.