Samuel Umtiti didn’t see a lot of the pitch since the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Frenchman was bugged with injuries throughout the period.
Umtiti made an instant impact when arriving in Barcelona from Lyon.
The €20 million signing looked like the jackpot for the Catalans. Umtiti was a stone-wall in defence while offering good on-ball skills to start the attacks.
Samuel’s great first season earned him a France call-up for the 2018 World Cup.
When he got there, Umtiti was facing knee injury. However, determined to help his team, he took pain-killers in order to carry on in the tournament.
As a starter alongside Real Madrid’s Varane, Umtiti was a key part of France’s World Cup run, even scoring in the knockout phase.
However, once he returned to Barca at the start of the 2018/19 season, he was never the same.
Injury after injury and the loss of pace cost him his place in the starting eleven. Instead, Clement Lenglet occupied the position, both for Barcelona and France.
However, after being out with injury for around five months, Umtiti is ready to step back into the team.
Since Gerard Pique earned his fifth yellow, he will be suspended for the match against Eibar.
This opens up space for Umtiti, whose only competition are Lenglet and Todibo.
“Big Sam” isn’t expected to feature in a highly-competitive El Clasico, but Valverde will be thrilled to have him available for the rest of the season.