La Liga 2016-17: Samuel Umtiti says it is a pleasure to play with MSN
Ahead of the World Cup qualification game between France and Sweden, FC Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti stated that it’s a pleasure to play and train alongside (MSN) Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar Jr on a day to day basis.
The 22-year-old is currently with the France national team preparing for a World Cup qualifier against Sweden and a friendly international game with Ivory Coast. Umtiti made his way into the France national team after impressing Didier Deschamps with his performances for Lyon and then with Barcelona.
The young defender had nothing but praise for the Barcelona trio and explained how the lethal forwards are helping him learn and develop.
"(Being at Barcelona) changes me and I am very happy to be there," Umtiti said. "It's amazing (playing alongside Messi, Suarez, and Neymar). It is a pleasure to train with them every day. They are exceptional. It makes me grow as well. You really are focused and apply yourself all the time.”
The France international joined Barcelona in the summer from French club Lyon after breaking into the French international football team in the Euro 2016 tournament. Umtiti also explained how he had changed his style of play to fit in with the Barcelona system.
"I try to play naturally. The most important thing is to remain efficient, and this is not easy because Barca plays completely differently [to Lyon]," he explained.
Umtiti also described his experience of playing alongside Lionel Messi and how it still amazes him that he has got this opportunity. The young defender describes Lionel Messi as an ‘extraterrestrial'.
"It's true that I work with Lionel Messi, who is for me an extraterrestrial. It is amazing what he can do," said Umtiti.
The former Lyon defender also revealed that it was not easy for him to secure a spot in Barcelona’s starting XI and that the youngster had a lot of extra homework to do in order to win a place in Luis Enrique’s side.
Umtiti added: "The intelligence of their game requires a lot of thinking about positioning. You have to adapt. For a defender, it's complicated to play at Barcelona. "It is for all these reasons I went to Barcelona."
The youngster also spoke about the Barcelona fans and how warm and receptive they were towards him, helping him settle into his new life at the Camp Nou after his arrival from Lyon in the summer.
"To adapt quickly I had to watch videos, I am learning their playing system. That is why the fans like me. It surprised me that my name was applauded at several matches. I must stay focused on my goal."
Samuel Umtiti had made his international debut for France at Euro 2016 earlier this year playing against Iceland in the quarter-final. Umtiti also went on to play against Germany and also Portugal in the final of the European championship.