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Zidane heaps praise on Payet for Euro 2016 performances amid reported Real Madrid interest

By Alex Taylor

Zinedine Zidane has described Hammers forward Dimitri Payet as one of the most influential attacking midfielders in Europe after his brilliant start to Euro 2016.

Payet lit up the Premier League in 2015-16 and has continued his spectacular form at international level in the summer tournament.

The former Marseille man scored spectacular goals in France’s first two games of the competition and then came off the bench to hit the bar with another brilliant effort in their third group stage match.

“He would improve any side in Europe,” Zidane said, as quoted by the Mirror . “He has everything a coach wants from an attacking midfielder. It is a great story – Payet has always always had talent, but now at 29 he is getting the respect he deserves.

“When he wasn’t in the French team he never gave up, and now he is proving he is one of the most important and talented players, not just in the French side, but in Europe.”

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The high praise from the Real Madrid manager could be regarded as significant given that reports in Spain have linked the Spanish giants with a move for Payet.

However, Hammers captain Mark Noble remains confident the club will retain the services of Dimitri Payet this summer. 

Payet is expected to return to France’s starting eleven for their last-16 match against the Republic of Ireland on Sunday. 

In other West ham news, the east London cub have given up on signing Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette.