Samuel Umtiti Breaks Silence on His Barcelona Troubles

Samuel Umtiti

Getty Samuel Umtiti has not played a minute so far this season for Barcelona.

Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has broken his silence on his difficulties at the Camp Nou but insisted he is determined to stay with the Catalan giants and force his way back into the starting XI.

Umtiti has fallen out of favor at the Camp Nou and has not managed a single minute of action for the Catalan giants in 2021-22. There has been continued speculation Barca want to offload the Frenchman, but Umtiti has told Mundo Deportivo he’s going nowhere.

“There are six centre-backs and I knew it would be hard to get minutes, but that’s how I am. If something is in my head, and I am sure I am good enough, I am going to try and prove it,” he said. I am in good shape, I just lack games, better shape than when I signed. Everything has changed since then: the training, my diet. I am stronger and quicker than before. I don’t see myself playing for another club, impossible. Right now, I am very clear on that. Football is my life, Barcelona is my life. I see myself here. I want to be a success here.”

Yet it’s difficult to see Umtiti featuring at all while Ronald Koeman remains in charge of the club. The Dutchman has made it clear with his team selections that Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia, Ronald Araujo, Oscar Mingueza, and Clement Lenglet are all ahead of Umtiti in the pecking order.

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Umtiti Admits To Tearful Meeting With Laporta

It had looked as though Umtiti would leave in the summer, but he ended up staying at the Camp Nou after a meeting with president Joan Laporta. The World Cup winner admitted it was an emotional conversation with the club chief.

“It was a very important conversation for me. I needed to get things off my chest and for him to know that I am in good shape and that I want to help the team,” he explained. “I cried in the meeting. We spoke about some difficult issues; it was quite intense. I don’t speak much, but if I do tell you something, it comes from the heart.”

Umtiti had been a regular at Barca after his move from Lyon in 2016 but lost his place in the team after continued struggles with a knee injury. The defender is now back to full fitness but has not managed to convince Koeman to give him a chance in the first team.

Fans Whistled Umtiti In Pre-Season

The French center-back did feature for Barcelona during pre-season but was whistled by some sections of the support during the Joan Gamper Trophy win over Juventus at the Camp Nou.

Supporters were angered by Umtiti’s decision to stay at the Camp Nou and felt it had an impact on Barca’s inability to keep captain Lionel Messi at the club. Umtiti says it hurt to hear the whistles from the crownd.

“The whistles hurt. I never thought that would happen at this club because it’s the club that I love,” he added. “[Mentally] it’s tough. There have been tough moments with injuries but I am better physically now. I am happy, but I would like to play and help the team. The coach makes the decisions and I must show I am good enough to play. I have to keep training hard.”

Umtiti has been named in Barca’s squad for their next game on Wednesday in the Champions League against Dynamo Kiev. Barca are without defenders Ronald Araujo, due to injury, and Eric Garcia, because of suspension, but it would still be a surprise if Umtiti saw any minutes against the Ukrainian champions.

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