The French defender has been heavily criticized for staying at the club despite his non-existent playing time.
After joining Barcelona from Lyon in 2016,Samuel Umtiti
quickly established himself as a starter for the Catalan club. A mixture of solid defensive performances and Barca’s general optimism toward their backline earned the then France international 50 appearances in his first two seasons at Camp Nou.
However, a number of unfortunate injuries were quick to change the situation for Umtiti. Upon recovering from his knee injury, the French center-back failed to regain his form and found himself way down the pecking order at Barca’s squad.
Umtiti was heavily linked with a move away from Barcelona as the club were keen to offload him among some others of their high earners this summer. However, the player ended up staying at Barca, which was not received well within the club’s fanbase.
The 27-year-old was whistled by the spectators during Barca’s pre-season game against Juventus. Umtiti admits he was hurt by the fans’ reaction but insists he has no intention of leaving the club before his contract expires.
"Yes [the whistles hurt], a lot, honestly,"
he told Mundo Deportivo.
"I never thought this could happen to me in this club because I love it, I love this club.
"I do everything, everything, to be okay. I have had hard times due to injuries but in the end I do my job and this is the most important thing for me. Work and train hard, and people don't know it.
"[I would tell those who whistle] that I'm fine. That the most important thing is the club, helping the players, you have to help everyone. Whistling is useless. I will give everything for the club, as I have tried to do from day one."
The Frenchman has been linked with multiple clubs in recent months, most notably Lyon and Manchester United. However, he rules out a potential January move as he is keen to prove his abilities at Barca.
"I don't see myself playing at another club, no, impossible. Right now I have it very clear [in my mind],"
"I want to show that I have the level to play here. The most important thing is to get back and show everyone that Samu is okay.
"It is clear to me, the most important thing now is to play here because it is my club, I love this club. I want to succeed here, play, win with my team-mates, with the team.
"I see myself here, I'm waiting for that moment to play. I have to continue training, working and showing that I have a place."
Umtiti is yet to play for Barcelona this season. It remains to be seen whether Ronald Koeman would consider providing the defender with chances of returning to Barca's squad this season.
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