Injured Payet will miss Marseille’s last three league games

MARSEILLE, France (AP) — Dimitri Payet will miss the final three games of the French league season for Marseille, which is chasing the Champions League, after tearing a calf muscle.

The 35-year-old playmaker limped off in the first half of the Europa Conference League semi-final second leg against Dutch side Feyenoord, which was marred by violent clashes of supporters outside the stadium Thursday evening.

Marseille said on Saturday that Payet would not fully recover before the end of the season.

“The most difficult thing for me now is not being able to help my teammates in the home stretch,” Payet wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “Of course I will be right behind them and all the staff.”

It’s a blow for Marseille, who are under pressure to finish in second place to secure an automatic entry into the Champions League next season.

Monaco’s eighth consecutive win on Friday night moved him above Marseille and into second on goal difference behind champions Paris Saint-Germain, although Marseille could restore the three-point gap with victory at Lorient on Sunday.

Payet has had one of the best seasons of his career and was on course to break his career record for most goals in a season – 13 for Saint-Etienne in 2010-11.

With his ability to play as a false nine or position himself as a deep playmaker, Payet is a crucial part of coach Jorge Sampaoli’s 4-3-3 system.

Despite his advanced age, he scored 12 goals – his best in a season for Marseille – and had nine assists.


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