Crystal Palace's Steve Mandanda returns to Marseille to say goodbye

Steve Mandanda returned to Marseille on Thursday to say goodbye to staff and supporters at the club before he links up with Crystal Palace.

Mandanda, 31, spent nine seasons at Marseille before completing a move to Palace earlier this month.

The France international was captain of Marseille last season and he felt it was important to make one last visit to the club's Commanderie training centre to bid farewell.

"I could have done a bit like everyone else and made a letter or prepared something but I simply wanted to say thanks to them," he told the club's TV channel, speaking directly to the camera. "During all these years, they were always behind me.

"They always encouraged me even when I wasn't quite as good. I had my little song -- that shows the love and the respect that the supporters could have for me. It's reciprocal.

"It was important to come here to say goodbye to them. Especially here at La Commanderie -- it's a symbolic place."

Meanwhile, former Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet hopes that a change of personnel can help the club get back to where it belongs.

The 2010 French champions only secured their top-flight status late last season and ended up finishing 13th in Ligue 1.

Former assistant manager Franck Passi has been given the chance to manage the club this season and earlier this week Giovanni Ciccolunghi was named as the new president.

"I really hope that this new president and new manager will allow OM [Olympique de Marseille] to regain its standing" Payet told RTL.

"I think that at the moment OM is not in its place. A club like that, in a city like Marseille, in a stadium like the Velodrome and with such support... OM doesn't deserve that."