Dimitri Payet attempts to heal rift with West Ham fans

Dimitri Payet hopes West Ham fans have come to terms with his acrimonious departure from the club in 2017, and now understand why he left.

The Marseille playmaker joined West Ham in 2015 and spent a rollercoaster 18 months with the club, becoming a fan favourite in his first season before forcing a move midway through his second season for what he called personal reasons.

The West Ham player of the season's return to Marseille, for a then club record sale of £25million, immediately ruined his relationship with the East London club's fans who had taken him to their hearts.

The former France international is set to captain Marseille against Spurs in the Champions League on Wednesday in what will be his first return to England's capital since he left West Ham.

If the 35-year-old can inspire the Ligue 1 club to victory in North London it will go a small way to healing some of the wounds he left a few miles away.

Payet said: "The Premier League helped me to realise a dream because everyone dreams about playing here, particularly now when you look at the teams who are playing in the Premier League. It is getting stronger and stronger and a really tough league to play in.

"I spent 18 months here full of emotions and excitement after Euro 2016 but no, I don't have any regrets. It was a choice I made, a personal choice and a family-based choice as well.

"Since I left West Ham I have stayed at Marseille, I haven't gone to any other club and don't intend on going to any other club so it wasn't leaving for the sake of leaving.

"It was a personal decision, a family decision and yeah, it was a pretty brutal break I suppose when I left, that's true, but I hope over the course of the years West Ham fans have come to understand why I left. I would certainly like and hope to think that."

Payet is one of several players in the Marseille squad who have previously played in England.

Four of them have represented Arsenal but Alexis Sanchez is suspended for the Group D fixture due to his red card for Inter Milan against Liverpool in last season's Champions League.

"I think it is important to be well acquainted with the intensity of the Premier League. I have played in a few derbies when I was at West Ham and know how intense they are," said Payet.

"Also Tottenham have another asset this time around of course because they have this stadium, with a lot more fans to support them, but it is always a pleasure to come back to London and to play in this wonderful setting."

Latest news