Euro 2016: Dimitri Payet
Payet gives the hosts some French flair
West Ham's Dimitri Payet has, undoubtedly, been one of the stars of Euro 2016, so far. The hosts opened the tournament against Romania with a 2-1 win. France took the lead when Payet crossed for Arsenal's Olivier Giroud to score, but it looked like the French party was going to fall flat when Romania equalised, but nobody was going to prevent Payet from taking the glory. In the final minute, he got the winner with a fantastic shot from the edge of the box. In their second game, France beat Albania 2-0. It was harsh on the Albanians, who defended very well, but France got two goals in injury time, with Payet scoring with the last kick of the match. Payet was rested for the final group match, a 0-0 draw against Switzerland, but when he was introduced as a second-half substitute he nearly got the winner with a fantastic volley that hit the crossbar. Payet has taken his amazing Premier League form to the Euros, but can he take France all the way to the title?
"The emotion came out with that goal (against Romania). If someone had told me before that it would have gone like this, I would not have believed them." Dimitri Payet.
What were Payet's best moments in 2015/16?
An emotional Dimitri Payet following his winning goal against Romania.
Payet was in great form throughout the 2015/16 Premier League season. He scored 9 times and created more chances than any other Premier League player. Here are some of the key moments:
- 26th June: Dimitri Payet signs for West Ham from Marseille in France. The fee was £10.7 million
- 9th of August: Payet makes his debut for West Ham in a 2-0 win away to Arsenal.
- 15th of August: Payet scores his first goal for West Ham on his Premier League home debut.
- October: His first 10 matches for West Ham sees his new team beat Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal.
- February: He signs a new 5-year contract at West Ham.
- March: Named Player of the Year at the London Football Awards.
- May: Shortlisted for the Premier League Player of the Season Award, named in the Premier League Team of the Season and wins West Ham's Player of the Season Award.
- June: Man of the Match in two of France's first three matches at Euro 2016.
What do we know about Dimitri Payet?
Payet had a sensational first season in the Premier League with West Ham.
Dmitri Payet was born on 29 March 1987 in Saint-Pierre on the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean. Despite being nearly 10,000 kilometres from Paris and a 12-hour flight away, Reunion is an official region of France and is also part of the European Union and Euro. Payet's first football club, as a youth, was AS Saint-Pierre on Reunion, but when he was only 12 he moved to France to play in Le Havre's youth team. It wasn't a successful time and after four years he returned to Reunion. After a year back at home, Payet was given a second opportunity to play in France, with Nantes, and he took the opportunity with both hands. Over the following 10 years, Payet made 368 appearances in Ligue One for Nantes, Saint-Etienne, Lille and Marseille. In June 2015, Payet joined West Ham and in his first season in England, the midfielder scored 9 Premier League goals and helped the Hammers to seventh place n the Premier League as they booked a place in next season's Europa League.
"Eric Cantona, David Ginola and Thierry Henry are inspirations. I’m just starting, but who’s to say, one day I might be at their level." Dmitri Payet
What do you think?
We think Dimitri Payet has been the best player in the group stages at Euro 2016.
Do you agree? Which other players have done well? Which players have been disappointing?
Which match has been the most exciting at Euro 2016?
Have there been any surprising results? What are your predictions for the rest of the tournament?