5 things you probably didn't know about Barcelona's new signing Samuel Umtiti
French defender Samuel Umtiti officially signed for Barcelona from Olympique Lyon for a fee of 25m. He signed a five-year contract with the Catalan club which would keep him at Camp Nou until 2021. The 22-year old centre-back has also on occasion played as a left back for the club from Lyon.
The young defender has been praised for his skill and composure on the ball, compared with former Barcelona man Eric Abidal recently describing him as ‘world class.’ Umtiti will join the Barcelona alongside the likes of Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano and compatriot Jeremy Mathieu in central defence.
He will arrive in Catalonia with high expectations after playing a major role in France’s run to the Final of Euro 2016 where they eventually lost to Portugal via an Eder goal in the 109th minute. We take a look at 5 things you might not have known about the young defender:
#1. He was only 18 when he made his Lyon debut and has appeared 170 times since.
Despite his young age, Samuel Umtiti has become a key player in the Olympique Lyonnais defence, amassing a total of 170 appearances since making his senior team debut in January 2012 against rivals Lyon-Duchere in a Coupe de France game.
He has gone on to play 97.2% of the minutes in the games where he featured, making him a mainstay in Lyon for five years now. He was part of the Lyon youth team from 2001 to 2011, before being promoted to the senior team in 2011 by the then manager Remi Garde and won the Coupe de France and Trophee des Champions in the same season.
#2. He is the first French player to make his international debut in a major tournament since 1966
The former Olympique Lyon man was handed his first start for Les Blues by coach Didier Deschamps in France’s 5-2 win over Iceland in the EURO 2016 Quarter-Final. It made him the first player since 1966 to have made his debut in a major tournament.
Gabriel Michele, in 1966, had made his debut for Les Blues in the World Cup. Previously uncapped, he was chosen to play at the Euros following an injury to another Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu just before the commencement of the tournament. It was an impressive debut for the young defender, winning all five of the aerial duels he was involved in and boasted a 100% passing accuracy throughout the match.