Eric Abidal approved of the future Blaugrana defender, who he defined as a "world class player"
Samuel Umtiti is closer and closer from Barça. First it was Catalunya Radio, announcing a few weeks ago that both clubs had reached an agreement. Today, it has been the French newspaper L'Equipe which published that the transfer was done. As the new centre-back almost signed, the most common question made by Blaugrana fans is: "Who is Umtiti?"
Approved by a myth
Aged 22 and born in Cameroon, the player was formed in the youth categories of Olympique Lyonnais. In 2011 he made his debut for the first team in a European game against Rubin Kazan. Although he started as a left-back, he has been working as a centre-back in the past few years. He can play in both positions and he arrives with the reputation of being a powerful centre-back with good technical abilities. Besides, he received the approval one of the historic players of his club, and also former Blaugrana. Eric Abidal was saying in May that Umtiti was a "world class player". "He has a lot of quality and I wish him the best for the future. It would be a tough loss for Lyon", Abidal added.
He has been international in every inferior categories. From Under-17 to Under-21, going through Under-18 and Under-19. He hasn't made his debut yet for the first team, although he is part of the squad for the Euros. Last season, Cameroon's Football Federation got in touch with him to make him know they would be glad to call him up in the national team, as he was born in the African country. After giving it a thought, Umtiti decided to decline the offer to keep being available for France. The Cameroonian legend Roger Milla criticised him harshly. "The same will happen to him as to the players that finally never get called up with France", he said. It seems like Umtiti's chance has eventually arrived. Rami being banned for a game, the future Barça player is the main candidate to start in France's defence in their next game in the European Championships quarter-finals.
One of the most striking games
One of the most stand-out performances of the Frenchman with his national team was, curiously, against Spain. It was in the Under-19 European Championships. Umtiti was one of the main men of a French team led by Paul Pogba, and they faced Gerard Deulofeu and Denis Suárez's Spain in quarter-finals. The game ended on a 3-3 draw, and Umtiti scored two of the three French goals. The game got to the penalty shootout, in which the player wasn't so lucky. The defender missed his penalty and France were knocked out by Spain that eventually won the tournament.
This is the video with the game's goals: