Rather disappointing with Les Bleus since March, annoyed by knee problems, Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti ensures he is on the road back to fitness. “Liberated”, too, by his extension of contract with the Blaugrana. From this Saturday evening (9pm) against the United States, it must be shown. At home, in Lyon.
Samuel Umtiti looked happy as a kid on Friday.
The Groupama Stadium was inaugurated in January 2016, six months after leaving Lyon for FC Barcelona. He will play for the first time, him the child of Menival, in the 5th arrondissement of the city of Gones, who had left Gerland one evening in August 2016 against Lorient. “It’s very special to come back here, it’s the first time,” said the 24-year-old defender. There is a preparation match to be made, we must ignore the side, the family, friends who will be there in the stadium. I will have many guests! ”
Umtiti will want to show them that they can see him leaving without fear in Russia. That the last months of his season, more difficult, are forgotten. That the Blues, with which it remains on several disappointing performances (Colombia and Russia in March) or quite neutral (Ireland, Italy despite a registered goal), will be able to count on a recovered form. “I did not perform well for a month and a half, two months, with genes on my knee on which I forced a little, he said. When one is not physically good, at a very high level, it is felt on the ground. But I have done the necessary work since the end of the season to get back to level. “
“I feel lighter”
Has Umtiti also been disturbed by its contractual situation, negotiations which have been eternal with Barça for an extension of contract?
Since the beginning of the week, in any case, the case is settled. Its starting clause was set at … 500 million euros. We are not afraid of anything in Spain. “I had a message from my leaders the day after the match against Italy, says the former Lyonnais. I found an agreement, that’s what I wanted before the World Cup. I feel lighter, I have no more questions to ask myself about it. Now I can focus only on the field. “
All the better, because the French team is going to need a big Umtiti at the World Cup. An Umtiti that sets the example, in particular impact. With Barça, he has less need to defend, since his team has almost always the ball. With the Blues, control is more uncertain, balloons come back faster.
“Some to let go now”
With Varane, who makes his return this Saturday night after his 4th victory in the Champions League, he must turn up the volume. Reassure a team in defensive balance still uncertain.
Potentially, this hinge Umtiti – Varane is very attractive. In fact, it still leaves on our hunger, probably also disabled by a common experience very weak (5 selections, 8 goals conceded).
“We played little together, it’s true, agrees Umtiti, who will play his first World Cup, unlike the Madrilenian. We stayed on a bad result two months ago (against Colombia, 2-3) , but we have discussed and worked since to settle some points. We are on the right path, with our qualities we are able to do beautiful things. It is necessary that the hinge gets along well, that the two players are complementary especially. “
The ritual question of leadership has returned to the carpet. Obviously, the answers become mechanical: “Raphael is a leader in his own way, too. There are quite a few young players in this French team, but with some experience. You do not have to force leadership, it’s innate or not. There are different types of leaders too. A few to let go now and help the group to make a beautiful World Cup. “ He understood.