Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Payet Winning Matches and Hearts

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Payet Winning Matches and Hearts

Article excerpt

Byline: Patrick Barclay

NOT since Roger Milla symbolised Cameroon's campaign in the 1990 World Cup has a man from Reunion so captured the heart of a tournament as Dimitri Payet, the star of the opening match and most compelling reason to watch France, who overcame Romania with his late and great goal, resume against Albania tonight.

Actually Milla had only been playing in Reunion when he travelled to Italy. Payet (right) was born on the French island in the Indian Ocean, as was the former Newcastle technician Laurent Robert. And, like Robert, he seemed to suffer from a diffidence that irritated team-mates; once at St Etienne, it caused an altercation with Blaise Matuidi. They soon made up and became international colleagues. But, while Matudi was always going to be in Didier Deschamps's team for this tournament, Payet didn't even figure in the squad a year ago. He had done well enough at Lille and Marseille without quite achieving the demigod status he was to acquire at West Ham. …

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