Sunday, May 20, 2018

Samuel Umtiti slowly coming of age at Barcelona

Umtiti quick to become a valuable first-team member at Barcelona / Image via

Umtiti quick to become a valuable first-team member at Barcelona / Image via

And the French international defender has his fine performance against Manchester City to confirm the claim.

Undeniable Talent

Samuel Umtiti was a steady progress for French side Lyon taking the time to reach his blistering potential in 2015-16 season when he was named “the best player of the season” by Lyon fans, coming first in front of a more established first-team member Alexandre Lacazette.

It was a huge acclaim for a 22-year-old boy whose excellent performances did not go unnoticed.

The Catalans came knocking in the summer of 2016, signing the talented defender for a fee believed to be in the region of €25 million.

Having experienced plenty of defensive problems in the previous season, Barcelona decided to invest in bringing one of the most talented defenders in Europe, who is expected to become a future leader in the centre of defence for the Catalan giants.

Samuel Umtiti is a physical presence on the pitch renowned for his excellent passing and dribbling abilities. Umtiti is also strong on the ball and boasts high level of concentration under pressure, but young international players often come with a certain risk.

The undeniable talents are however making way for Samuel Umtiti to write a name for himself at one of the most desired destinations in world football.

Steady Progress

Summer transfer to Barcelona came as a huge boost for a player who was just days from making his international debut for France at the Euro 2016.

Buoyed by his recent change of surroundings Samuel Umtiti went on to become a prominent figure for Didier Deschamps’ team.

The 22-year-old defender make his senior international debut against Iceland, helping France seal their place in the semi-final of the competition. Having been only called up as a late replacement for the injured Jerermy Mathieu, Umtiti became the first France player to get his debut at a major tournament since 1966.

Barcelona defender put in a perfect performance against Iceland, not misplacing a single pass on his debut and earning a wide-spread praise.

Capping off a fine couple of days, Samuel Umtiti headed to Barcelona with a renewed sense of self-belief and confidence eager to show his worth straight from the start.

A stretched ligament had different ideas in mind as Umtiti was ruled out for 23 days with an injury that put an early dent in efforts to earn his place in Luis Enrique’s team.

Reliable All-Rounder

Having only returned from his knee injury last week, Samuel Umtiti managed to prove his fitness to Luis Enrique, who opted to put his faith into the young defender in front of Javier Mascherano for a hugely anticipated clash against Manchester City.

Barcelona ended up ruining Pep Guardiola’s homecoming with Leo Messi’s hat-trick and Neymar’s sealer, but Samuel Umtiti was one of those players who impressed in Argentine and Brazilian’s shadow.

Pep Guardiola has apparently identified the French defender as a possible weak point in Luis Enrique’s team, instructing his players to exert pressure and man-mark players other than Umtiti in hopes that the French centre-back will crack under pressure during the build-up of his team’s attack.

French international proved to be a reliable all-rounder in defence as he went on to put a commanding, composed performance at the back.

With an average passing accuracy of 91% and the perfect score when it comes to duels won against his rivals, Umtiti enjoyed a successful night which will have surely further strengthened his place in the team.

Strong on the ball, Umtiti made several key interceptions and timely challenges, frustrating Manchester City who were unable to breach the impenetrable wall in front of ter Stegen’s goal, not even when the numerical balance was restored after Mathieu’s second-half red card.

Impressive Champions League display perhaps served as a perfect proof that Samuel Umtiti is slowly coming of age at Barcelona and that the Catalans have got themselves a future first-team star.

A high-profile clash is coming Barcelona’s way this weekend as the Catalans are due to travel to Mestalla to face Valencia with both teams not to score offered at 5/4 betting odds and we are sure that it will be Barcelona who will keep a clean sheet against Los Che on Saturday afternoon with Samuel Umtiti playing important role in helping Barcelona go three games in a row without a single goal conceded.

Will he?


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently and His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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