Former Barca hero slams the board for lack of support at his peak

  • Samuel Umtiti expresses the lack of support he faced after his knee injury.
  • The Frenchman insisted on playing the FIFA WC 2018 without being fully fit, which later proved fatal for his Barca career.
Samuel Umtiti expresses the lack of support he faced
Samuel Umtiti expresses the lack of support he faced / David Ramos/GettyImages

Rising through the ranks of Olympique Lyon Academy came a youngster who seemed ready to take down European football with his grit defending skills. A strong defender by build, Samuel Umtiti possessed the game awareness required to sustain at the highest level.

Umtiti's rise at Barca

Meanwhile, Barca was looking for a replacement for veteran Javier Mascherano, whose growing age seemed to be an issue. Moreover, Barca being impressed by Umtiti's heroics for Olympique Lyon, the Catalan club decided to pursue the Frenchman for €25 M.

Over the next few months, the center-back's rock-solid nature at the Barca backline started getting prominence as he became the club's go-to defender alongside Gerard Pique. Though frequent injuries had been an issue throughout his Barca career, the Frenchman featured in 83 games for the Catalan giants in his first two seasons.

A knee injury forced Umtiti out

But, as they say, not every story has a beautiful ending: something similar happened with Samuel Umtiti. When the center-back stood at the peak of his footballing career, the Frenchman got an injury that later proved fatal for his club career.

Just before the FIFA WC 2018, Umtiti was out of footballing action due to knee issues. Understandably, the defender had missed the last three La Liga matchdays scheduled before the World Cup. However, inspired to do something of a revelation for his National side, Umtiti urged for a conservative treatment, instead of surgery, that would allow him to feature in the FIFA WC 2018.

Though France went on to win the FIFA WC 2018, which remains the best memory of Umtiti's career, the defender spent most of the next La Liga season injured. The prolonged injury of a starter at the club forced the Barca board to brainstorm for possible replacements. Lenglet, who had joined the club from Sevilla in July 2018, seemed to fill in Umtiti's shoes perfectly, ending the chances of a comeback from the French WC winner.

Umtiti's say on Barca's lack of support

Regarding the same, Umtiti has recently expressed his heartfelt emotions, he said,

"“I did not get enough support from Barcelona after I returned from the 2018 World Cup.”"

Samuel Umtiti

However, as harsh as it may sound, Barca did what had seemed correct. With them hitting another pinnacle during the 2018-2019 era, the club mustn't have waited for Umtiti. Moreover, Umtiti seemed to have lost the spark after his knee injury, which made Barca loan him to Leece ahead of the 2022/23 season.

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On 22nd July 2023, the defender moved on to a free transfer to LOSC Lille. Currently 30 years old, the defender hopes to have a return to a European giant, though chances of the same seem dull. Whatever it may be, the defender was a relish to watch in his Barca days, taking on the opposition attackers for fun. Samuel Umtiti will remain an unforgettable hero in the Catalan club's unmatchable history.