Marseille boss Rudi Garcia took a calculated gamble by naming Dimitri Payet in his starting line-up for Wednesday night’s Europa League final against Atletico Madrid.
Unfortunately for the French outfit, however, it failed to pay off.
Payet, who had recovered from a muscle injury but was not 100 per cent fit, was forced off through injury after just 32 minutes.
The French midfielder, who returned to Marseille last year following an 18-month spell with West Ham, left the field in floods of tears.
The 31-year-old was visibly devastated as he made his way to the dugout and must have feared that his World Cup dream is also over.
"He was worried about playing and whether he'd be able to kick the ball hard,” Garcia was quoted as saying by Goal after the match. "He didn't aggravate the injury today, he just wasn't fully fit. In matches like this you have to take risks."
Marseille were already 1-0 down when Payet went off and eventually lost the final 3-0, with Antoine Griezmann’s brace and Gabi’s late goal sealing the prestigious European trophy for Atletico.
Dixon delivers brutally honest opinion about Payet
While most people understood Payet’s reasons for shedding tears both during and after the match, former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon delivered his brutally honest opinion about the midfielder.
And in fairness, he might have a point.
Asked if there needs to be a moment when Payet’s thoughts should turn to the team, rather than himself, Dixon said on ITV Sport: “Absolutely. He’s captain, he’s going off, he’s in tears - he’s got no thought about anybody else but himself.
“He should be turning around - we’ve seen it with [Cristiano] Ronaldo in the past, getting injured in a big final - and geeing his [teammates] up.”
Dixon on Payet touching the trophy before kick-off
Indeed, we all remember the role that Ronaldo played in the Euro 2016 final after his unfortunate injury.
He returned to the touchline and inspired his teammates to glory against, coincidentally, Payet’s France.
Dixon also had to say something about Payet touching the Europa League trophy prior to kick-off.
Like a lot of football fans, the ITV pundit thought this was foolish - even though it’s obviously only superstition.
“Watch this: they say never touch a trophy before a big tournament - bang. I’m telling you, that’s the moment,” he added.
“Every footballer who’s watching that will be cringing now. Never touch a trophy before. If you’ve not won it and it’s in the final, don’t touch the trophy. It’s bad luck.”
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