Dimitri Payet insists that does not need to justify his conduct following a hugely controversial exit from West Ham United. The French playmaker has now completed his return to former club Marseille on a four-year deal and was officially unveiled during a press conference at the Robert Louis-Dreyfus Centre earlier on Monday afternoon (30 January).
Payet's ugly departure from English football has proved to be the biggest storyline of the January transfer window so far, with Slaven Bilic shocking supporters earlier this month by revealing the 29-year-old was refusing to play for the club amid a desire to return to southern France for family reasons. He was subsequently banished to train with the U23 squad while Marseille made numerous offers to convince West Ham into altering their defiant stance of not selling the player.
Such a stalemate was eventually resolved over the weekend, with the Hammers releasing a statement to reveal that a £25m (€29.2m) sale had gone through.
Such confirmation was accompanied by a rather scathing message from co-chairman David Sullivan, who claimed that the club would like to place on record their "sincere disappointment" that Payet "did not show the same commitment and respect to West Ham United that the club and fans showed him, particularly when it rewarded him with a lucrative new five-and-half-year deal only last year".
Responding to questions from the Daily Mail at his second Marseille unveiling, Payet, who has once again been handed the number 11 shirt at the Stade Velodrome, said: "I was not feeling good at the club anymore. I don't need to justify my behaviour at all. Slaven Bilic and I had conversations face to face. I will speak about this, but not now. It's not the right moment. I prefer to savour this moment at a great club and return to that at a later date."
Payet claimed to have had an "exceptional year" at West Ham, for whom he signed in a £10m deal back in June 2015, and has "special memories" of the fans. He further insisted that money was not a motivation following previous links to the Chinese Super League (CSL) and confirmed that there had been a financial sacrifice made in order to complete the move. It is reported that Payet paid back his £500,000 January salary before being allowed to return to Marseille and has also taken a wage cut.
Marseille could hand Payet his re-debut as soon as Tuesday night (31 January), when Rudi Garcia's side host Lyon in the last 32 of the Coupe de France. L'OM, subject to a €45m takeover from former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt in October 2016, currently lie sixth in Ligue 1 and four points adrift of a Europa League qualifying spot following a 5-1 thrashing of Montpellier that featured a hat-trick from Swansea City loanee Bafetimbi Gomis. Patrice Evra also featured for 71 minutes on his first appearance since joining from Juventus on an 18-month deal last week and fellow new signing Morgan Sanson enjoyed a late substitute cameo against his former team.