Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has put the cat amongst the pigeons by stating that he is a big fan of France star Dmitri Payet.
The West Ham man, who has been one of the greatest surprise packages in Europe for club and country over the last year, has followed up his remarkable season in England with a couple of star showings for France at EURO 2016.
Payet has been the star turn in a so far underwhelming France side and forced his way onto the team sheet as a guaranteed starter.
And, fresh from winning The Champions League at the first time of asking, Zidane has spoken in glowing terms of his countryman. The Daily Mirror reports:
Zinedine Zidane has began Real Madrid’s charm offensive by lavishing praise on Dimitri Payet .
Madrid boss Zidane has hailed countryman Payet, France’s star man at Euro 2016, claiming “he would improve any side in Europe” and has “everything” a coach wants from an attacking midfielder.
The report states that a similar ‘charm offensive’ was undertaken by Zidane to bring the likes of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale to the club and Paul Pogba is another who has received glowing praise from Zizou.
At 29 Real Madrid may ultimately decide to invest in a longer-term project than Payet. But, if his form continues on this trajectory, it is difficult to see him playing for West Ham next season, despite their ever improving status and new stadium.
Here are some of Payet’s best moments. Real Madrid fans: would he be a better number 10 than James Rodriguez?