The French center-back has been blighted with knee problems over the last two seasons and is once again set for more time on the sidelines.
Here’s the club’s official statement:
“The first team player Samuel Umtiti has a problem with his left knee and will undergo conservative treatment. The player is not available and his recovery will dictate when he can return.”
Umtiti has made just 14 starts for Barcelona in all competitions this season. His last appearance for the club came in the 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo at Balaidos.
That looks like being his final outing of 2019-20. He is set to miss at least the next five weeks because of the injury, according to Javier Miguel at AS. Umtiti is also unlikely to be back in time for Barca’s Champions League campaign.
Miguel reports Umtiti will undergo stem cell treatment to regenerate the knee, although there is no guarantee this will be a success. Indeed, the defender really needs to undergo surgery but has refused to go under the knife.
What Next for Umtiti?
Umtiti has spoken before about the injury problems which have seen him miss plenty of game time since he helped France win the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He told Bilel Ghazi at L’Equipe in 2019 that he does have regrets about the way he managed the problem.
“I had to work three times harder to get back. During the World Cup, I didn’t necessarily do what was necessary-or rather, things were done that I should have avoided.
“I have always been professional but there are protocols and certain things that you are asked to do even though they aren’t necessarily good in the long-term. I regret those things a little bit.
“But it’s in the past. I’m not angry with anyone. I think the majority of people who gave me advice did so for my own good. Even if certain things were not necessarily good for my knee. But I’m an adult. I took those decisions on my own. I should have done it differently.”
The World Cup winner went to Qatar for conservative treatment at the end of 2018 rather than having surgery. Although he did return to action he’s been a regular visitor to the treatment room and has been unable to consistently recapture the form that made him such a dominant defender following his arrival at Barcelona from Lyon in 2016.
Barcelona’s Injury Problems Continue
Umtiti’s injury is another blow for Barcelona ahead of the run-in. The club are already without key midfielder Frenkie de Jong due to a calf injury, while Ousmane Dembele has suffered a setback in his recovery from hamstring surgery.
Barcelona is under pressure after drawing three of their last four matches and slipping four points behind Real Madrid. They take on Villarreal next on Sunday and could be seven points adrift at kick-off if Los Blancos beat Athletic earlier in the day.
Umtiti’s latest setback also leaves the club short of options in defense. Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet are the only other senior center-backs in the squad, although Barca B youngster Ronald Araujo is available.