When Barcelona paid €25 million to sign Samuel Umtiti six and a half years ago, he was thought to be one of the top young defenders in the world.
The center-back played a crucial role in France’s World Cup campaign later that year before helping Barcelona win La Liga that year.
He started alongside Raphael Varane in the world cup match against Croatia and scored the game-winning goal in a nail-biting semifinal triumph over Belgium. Umtiti was rated by Transfermarkt at an astounding €70 million at the height of his prowess. The whole world was at his feet.
Although it might have ended his professional career at the highest level, the former Lyon player’s participation in that World Cup offered him great joy.
Umtiti was aware that surgery would keep him from the World Cup after suffering a knee injury earlier in the championship-winning campaign.
He decided to push on. While Umtiti received his award, he has experienced knee problems ever since.
Umtiti has struggled, and since September 2018, he has missed 54 games due to knee issues alone.
The 29-year-old hasn’t played more than 20 games in a season since 17/18 due to other injuries. After things got really bad last season, Barcelona fans grew tired of his frequent absences.
Umtiti resisted the Blaugrana’s attempts to reduce his hefty pay. Due to Barcelona’s financial difficulties, Lionel Messi left, which resulted in Umtiti receiving jeers during a preseason game.
Even in Catalonia, he was approached in despicable ways on the streets. In the end, Umtiti opted for a new deal with Barcelona that paid significantly less.
He signed a season-long loan agreement with Lecce of Serie A in August, with no option to purchase. He has participated in five games this season but hasn’t been able to cement a spot on the first team. Umtiti’s worth on Transfermarkt has dropped to a pitiful €2 million, a startling €68 million decline.