The sad Fall from grace of Samuel Umtiti

The fall of umtiti

Samuel Umtiti started his youth career with Menival before moving to the B team of Lyon. However, due to his consistency sam was very soon promoted to the A team. He played 4 seasons in the ligue 1 and soon attracted attracted attention from many big European teams . But FC Barcelona eventually won the race and Umtiti signed with the Catalan club in June 2016 for a transfer fee €25 million. The domestic season of 2015-16 was already over for the Catalns. They won the La-liga and the Copa del rey along with the UEFA super-cup and the FIFA club world-cup. Umtiti played his first start in the EURO 2016 against Iceland in the Quarters where France won the game 5-2. They progressed comfortably to the semi finals where they faced Germany.

Due to an impressive performance in the Quarters Umtiti was once again in the starting XI. France won the semis by defeating a dominant German squad with 2-0 progressing to the finals of Euro 2016. France were favourites to clinch the title when they faced Portugal in the finals . Moreover, all eyes were set on the young 23 year old Samuel Umtiti. France dominated the Portuguese team throughout the game. But their hopes of winning the euro shattered by Eder who came as a super-sub and provided the only goal. It was the winning goal of the match on the 109th minute. The Euro 2016 ended with the French team as the runners up. But this was only the beginning of a long footballing journey for Samuel Umtiti.

Arriving to Barcelona

When Sam joined Barça he was handed the #23. The team already had experienced centre backs with the likes of Pique, Maschareno and Mathieu. But Sam wanted to prove himself and he played his first appearence against Sevilla in the Supercopa de Espana. Barcelona won the finals comfortably with three goals to zero. It was the first of many silverwares to come for Samuel at Barcelona.

Samuel Umtiti debuted in La-liga alongside Pique in a 4-man defence with Sergi as the RB and Alba as the LB. It was against betis which the Catalans won 6-2. Afterwards, Umtiti made four starts for Barcelona, until he suffered a stretched ligament injury. That kept him out of the team for a period of 24 days. Samuel returned to the starting XI against Manchester City in the third groupmatch which was eventually won by Barcelona 4-0. Umtiti started every Barcelona match before picking up his second injury of the season which was a hamstring injury. In that time he was out again for a period of three weeks.

Samuel Umtiti returned once again to the starting 11 when Barcelona faced Las Palmas. They won the fixture by defeating them by a whooping margin of 5-0. Umtiti cemented his Starting XI position in the backline due to his excellent performances throughout the entire season. Barcelona played 59 fixtures throughout the entire season and Samuel started 9 of these fixtures on the bench. Moreover, he missed 7 matches in total due to his injuries. Barcelona finished the season on the second place in the Spanish division. But the team did win the Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de Espana.

In 2016-17 season, Umtiti managed 43 starts and gathered a single goal and 17 clean sheets.

New coach

It was now time for FCB to focus on their next season. 2017-18 season witnessed a lot of changes as Ernesto Valverde was now the Head coach of the team. Mathieu left the club on a free transfer boosting the chances of Umtiti even more.

Barcelona suffered a heavy defeat in the Supercopa with an aggregate of 5-1 at the beginning of the season. But the catalan club performed phenomenally in the league by winning the league securing 93 points. Moreover, winning 28 matches, drawing 9 and losing only one fixture against levante UD. Furthermore, Barcelona played impressively throughout the entire Copa del Rey campaign and they eventually defeated sevilla in the finals 5-0. It was also Iniesta’s last match for the club. But the club lost the champions league after a shocking defeat to roma by 4-4 aggregate on away goal advantage. Samuel made 40 appearances for the club picking up two injuries in the entire season.

Umtiti gathered 21 clean sheets and scoring once in the 2017-18 season. But injuries became a common problem due to Sam. in a span of two seasons, he suffered four injuries and in his second season he faced muscle injury and later a knee injury.

Sam was out of the squad for a duration of two months and missed 12 matches in this duration. Barcelona were bit tensed due to Umtiti’s recent injuries, but the season was over. Then the Frenchman was ready to take part in the national team for the FIFA world-cup in Russia.

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The crucial world cup of 2018

France had a dominant squad along with a young bench. Samuel Umtiti started 7 out of 8 matches for the national team in the world cup with a goal in the semis. France had impressive 3 cleansheets, and the FC Barcelona centreback was part of that.

France drew Australia peru and Denmark in the group, Umtiti’s handball costed France a goal vs Austarlia. But France managed to secure a narrow 2-1 victory vs Australia and also won 1-0 over peru. That guaranteed their slot in the knockout stages. Umtiti rested when France faced Denmark and the match was a boring contest for the neutral fans. The match ended 0-0, France topped Group C with 7 points and a goal difference of 2.

Samuel Umtiti returned to the starting eleven against Argentina where he was going to face his club captain in the Last 16 , the match was full of intense drama where France had the last laugh and progressed to the Quarters with a 4-3 win over the south Americans, France were prepared to face a highly defensive Uruguayan side with lots of experienced players , France clinched another well deserved victory with a 2-0 win advancing to the semifinals and the stage was lit up for another brilliant performance and Samuel once again showed why he is a top quality defender by not only keeping a cleansheet but by also scoring a thumping header through griezmann’s curling corner which was the only and the winning goal in the semifinals against Belgium

Winning World Cup whilst jeopardize his career

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It was the day the entire world waited for. The FIFA 2018 World Cup Finals where France faced an underdog Croatia team. Umtiti started in the finals aswell partnering with the Real Madrid centre back Raphael Varane , France eventually won the world cup in a stylish way defeating Croatia 4-2 in the finals , Umtiti was one of the best players in the entire tournament which excited many cules as it was always a special feeling to have a world cup winner in your squad but the future wasn’t very bright for sam .

The domestic season of 2018-19 was about to begin and Barcelona signed Clement Lenglet a young and an experienced French centre back from Sevilla FC for €36million as a backup for Samuel Umtiti and handed him #15. Clement signed with the Catalan club for a span of five years and his buyout clause is €300 million.

New season, full of injuries

The club started its season with a supercopa victory where lenglet started over Umtiti alongside pique defeating sevilla 2-1 , Umtiti started against PSV on Game week 1 and also started every league match and assiting luis suarez a goal against socedaid , Umtiti picked up a knee injury leaving him out of the team for 5 La-liga fixtures 3 ucl matches and the clubs first copa del rey fixture of the season as well.

Umtiti worked hard and was determined to return to the starting XI and the French centre back was on the team sheet after being left out for team for a span of 43 days , sam was on the bench for barcelona’s clash against betis , Barcelona eventually lost the fixture 3-4 to betis , the club faced a huge clash ahead when they faced Atletico Madrid on the 13th gameweek.

Umtiti played 90 minutes throughout the entire match and the match came to an end with a 1-1 draw giving a point to both the teams but Umtiti never recovered completely from that horrible knee injury ,many questions were asked to the club’s medical staff as they rushed Umtiti into the team without being 100% fit, Umtiti got injured for 6th time in his entire spell for the Catalan club , the club waited patiently for Samuel to recover from this horrific and painful injury , he was sidelined for 83 days which resulted him being absent from the squad for a long span of 83 days which resulted in him missing 19 Barcelona’s fixture out of which 11 were La-liga matches 6 were Copa del Rey matches and the rest three were European fixtures.

Losing the Starting XI spot

While Umtiti was away, Lenglet was impressive throughout the matches he played. Moreover, he was very consistent with his play and could move ball easily to the midfield. Clement had that agility in him which Barça missed the most during counter attacks. It was going to be tough for Umtiti to get back his starting eleven place as the pique-lenglet partnership was really working well under Valverde. But Umtiti returned to the starting eleven when Barcelona played sevilla away from home and winning the game four goals to two. Umtiti was on the bench for the next match which was an el classico at Santiago bernabeau.

Umtiti returned on game-week 25 and he made only 7 appearances in the league. Moreover, he had zero appearences in the copa del rey throughout the whole season and played only one match in the champions league. The season was over with Barcelona winning the La Liga and Supercopa de Espana against Sevilla. However, Barça failed to win the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. That damaged and hurt the spirit of not only the fans but also the players the staff and the entire club.

Umtiti finished the season with only 15 appearances out of which 14 were league appearances. The remaining one was in the champions league. Umtiti had 1 assist and 6 clean sheets in his 2018-19 season.

Umtiti unfit most of the times

The French center back only made only two appearances for the French National Team in the Nations League in 2018: Vs Germany and Holland. France drew 0-0 vs Germany and won 2-1 against holland. Due to Umtiti’s unfortunate injury he couldn’t face Holland and Germany in the next fixtures. France won 2-1 against Germany and lost 2-0 against Holland. Kimpembe replaced Umtiti in the starting eleven. In the end France failed to qualify for the semi-finals as they drew second in the League A Group 1. They had same points as that of Holland but they had a lower goal difference.

2019/20 – Not the same player anymore

It was now time for Umtiti to focus on his fourth spell at the Catalan club. Umtiti along with Barcelona started the 2019-20 season poorly as they lost their first league match against Bilbao 1-0. Umtiti started on the bench for the first three league matches. Furthermore, Umtiti picked up his first injury of the season which was a foot injury. This foot injury was Umtiti’s 7th injury of his 4th season at the club.

The foot injury seemed pretty serious which sidelined sam for a span of 6 weeks. He missed out on 5 league fixtures and two champions league fixtures. Umtiti returned to the starting eleven against Eibar where the club won the match three goals to nil. Umtiti was again out due to the resurfacing of the knee problem and he missed out on three matches.

Two of the LaLiga fixtures and one was a Champions League fixture against Slavia on the third gameweek , after being out for a period of two weeks , Umtiti made a comeback to the playing eleven against Celta Vigo , Barcelona won the fixture 4-1.

Big Sam was in and out of the first team and enjoyed a decent run with the club as compared to the last season. He played throughout the 90’ against Dortmund and Inter on the 5th and 6th UCL gameweek and also against Napoli in the Last 16’s First Leg away from home as Barcelona drew 1-1, Umtiti even started for the Catalan club in the supercopa de espana semifinals against Atletico , after a thrilling encounter Barcelona lost 3-2.

Injury during the Covid-19 break

Football stopped due to the global outbreak of the Covid Virus outbreak. But somehow Umtiti able to injure himself during the break due to a calf injury. He didn’t miss any of games fortunately , as ootball resumed after a gap of 14 weeks, Barcelona finished runners up behind the leaders Real Madrid. Umtiti seemed inconsistent and poor after the league returned. Moreover, Sam picked up his 10th injury of his Barcelona career and 4th of his 2019-20 season. Because of that he missed the last 5 league fixtures.

The absence of Umtiti gave rise to young centre backs with the likes of JC Todibo and Ronald Araujo , Umtiti so far has 18 appearances in the current season accumulating 6 clean sheets in total.

Todibo was a brilliant ball moving centre back and another French centre back who joined the club for free from the French side Toulouse. He was very comfortable with ball at his feet. However, he made only 4 appearances for the club picking up three cleansheets before the club loaned him to Schalke. Araujo is a Barcelona B product with the perfect Barcelona DNA. The wonder kid has immense speed with special talent in him and he quickly rose to the first team. He made 6 appearances for Barcelona in the league where he gathered 5 clean sheets.

Arajuo has great agility when it comes to stopping counter attacks where he clocked 34.9 kmph against alaves on the final league match. He was recently injured in the finals against Sabadell which the B team lost 2-1.

The team looks to sell him

In my opinion Umtiti proved himself on numerous occasions. But he is too injury prone as he is currently out with an injury. Moreover, he already picked four injuries this season. This injury is his 1oth of his entire spell at the club, Umtiti is bit relaxed when it comes to counter attacks due to which club has lost several important fixtures and has dropped points where they shouldn’t have , also the fact should be considered that he is not getting any younger and he will be turning 27 this November , as per my opinion Barcelona should call back JC Todibo from loan and should keep him and Araujo as back up defenders with lenglet and pique as our main centre backs , if they decide to sell todibo to Schalke , they should buy a young centre back by selling Umtiti or swapping him.

Here are the entire stats and details of Umtiti’s Career at FC Barcelona:

Samuel Umtiti won two La Ligas with Barcelona in 2018-19 and in 2019-20. Moreover, he won two cups in 2016-17 and in 2017-18 and two supercopas in 2016-17 and in 2018-19. Umtiti has 6 major titles in his four seasons at FC Barcelona

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