Samuel Yves Umtiti (French pronunciation: [samɥɛl umtiti]; born 14 November 1993) is a French professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Spanish club Barcelona and the French national team. He is considered the world's most expensive centre-back from a transfer value perspective by the CIES.
Umtiti began his professional career with Lyon in 2012, winning both the Coupe de France and Trophée des Champions in his first year. He totalled 170 games and three goals before a €25 million transfer to Barcelona in 2016. He went on to win the Copa del Rey in his first season in Spain and a La Liga and Cup double the following campaign.
After winning 47 caps and scoring three goals at youth level, including winning the 2013 U-20 World Cup, Umtiti made his senior debut for France at Euro 2016, where they reached the final. Two years later, he was part of the squad that won the 2018 World Cup.
Umtiti, born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, moved with his family at two-years-old to Villeurbanne, France. Few months later, however, the family settled in the district of Ménival in the 5th arrondissement of Lyon. Thereafter, Umtiti joined the local football club Ménival at the age of five. At nine years old, he joined Lyon's youth academy.
Umtiti was included in a Lyon squad for the first time on 16 August 2011, remaining an unused substitute as they defeated Rubin Kazan 3–1 in the first leg of the Champions League play-off round. He made his professional debut for the club on 8 January 2012, playing the whole match in a 3–1 victory over local rivals Lyon-Duchère in the Coupe de France. Six days later, he made his Ligue 1 debut in a 1–0 away defeat to Montpellier, playing the entire game. Umtiti made a total of 18 appearances across all competitions in his debut season.
In the 2012–13 season, he became a more regular member of the Lyon first team. On 12 January 2013, against Troyes in a 2–1 away win, he scored his first career goal. He finished the season with 32 appearances in all competitions and two goals.
On 30 June 2016, Umtiti signed for La Liga side Barcelona for a fee of €25 million. On 17 August, Umtiti made his first appearance for Barcelona in the second leg of the 2016 Supercopa de España which Barcelona won 3–0 versus Sevilla and lifted the trophy. Umtiti picked up a knee injury in September 2016 while in Barcelona training, causing him to miss a crucial La Liga clash against Atlético Madrid. He scored his first goal for the club, on 4 March 2017, against Celta de Vigo with Barcelona winning 5–0 at the Camp Nou. He would later play a vital role in the 2016–17 Champions League round of 16 second leg fixture against Paris Saint-Germain, as he started the match alongside Gerard Piqué and Javier Mascherano in a 3-man central defence partnership. Umtiti assisted his teammates in recovering from a 4–0 first leg deficit to a historic 6–1 victory, the biggest comeback in the history of the Champions League. He would cap off his first year in Spain by winning the 2016–17 Copa del Rey and by establishing himself firmly as first-choice in central defence for the club alongside Piqué.
Now established as first-choice in defence at the club, after Barcelona's subpar 2017 Supercopa de España while reeling off the loss of Neymar, Umtiti began the season with great performances, under the guidance of new manager Ernesto Valverde. On 2 December, Umtiti injured his right hamstring and was ruled out for eight weeks. Umtiti scored the winning goal against Valencia CF at Camp Nou, on 14 April, in a 2–1 victory for the Catalans. A week later, on 21 April, Umtiti started for Barcelona in the 2018 Copa del Rey Final, holding a clean sheet in an eventual 5–0 victory over Sevilla at Wanda Metropolitano. Additionally, Umtiti won his first La Liga winners' medal during his second season in Spain, with the defender appearing in 40 games and scoring one goal across all competitions.
On 3 June 2018, Umtiti signed a new five-year contract with Barcelona. The release clause was subsequently set at €500 million. Umtiti was named as a substitute for the 2018 Supercopa de España behind Piqué and a new summer signing Clément Lenglet. Despite not featuring and with Barcelona winning the match 2–1 against Sevilla, Umtiti claimed his fifth winners' medal since joining the club.
Umtiti was a France youth international, having represented the country from under-17 to under-21 levels. He was an integral member of the team that won France's first ever U-20 World Cup in 2013. Although, he had to sit out the final against Uruguay due to a red card received in the semi-final against Ghana.
Umtiti was born and spent the first two years of his life in Cameroon. Therefore, the Cameroonian Football Federation and their former international Roger Milla met his advisors in an unsuccessful attempt to get him to represent their national team.
Umtiti, who was at the time uncapped at senior level, was selected by the French national team manager Didier Deschamps to be part of the France's squad for the European Championship in 2016, following an injury to the compatriot Jérémy Mathieu. Umtiti made his senior debut on 3 July by playing every minute of the quarter-final against Iceland at the Stade de France, replacing the suspended Adil Rami. Thus, he became the first outfield player since Gabriel De Michèle (at the 1966 World Cup) to win his first cap for France by appearing in the finals of a major tournament and was accurate with all 77 of his passes during the match, which France won 5–2. He later earned extremely positive reviews for his performance in the semi-final against the incumbent world champions Germany. This led to a lot of excitement over Umtiti's prospects for his newly signed club, Barcelona, and his future as a player.
On 13 June 2017, Umtiti scored his first goal for France, equalising against England in an eventual 3–2 victory for Les Bleus in a friendly match in Paris.
On 17 May 2018, he was called up to the 23-man French squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. In the semi-final against Belgium on 10 July, he scored the only goal of the game, heading in a corner. On 15 July, Umtiti was named as a starter, as France beat Croatia 4–2 in the final.
Style of play
Umtiti is a central defender. In 2018, ESPN FC journalist Sam Marsden was effusive in praising Umtiti, opining that, "As well as reading the game as if it was a children's book, timing his challenges to the millisecond and putting his body on the line in the name of a block, [Umtiti] is a daring defender. [...] He takes risks, feeding the ball between the lines, and rarely picks the wrong option", going on to say, "Of the six summer signings Robert Fernandez made in 2016, Umtiti has proved the sporting director's Mona Lisa [...] Barca should make sure they follow through on their threat to up their security on a player who has the potential to not just keep improving, but who could lead their defence for the next five to 10 years".
- As of match played 23 February 2019
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
- As of match played 6 September 2018
- As of match played 6 September 2018. France score listed first, score column indicates score after each Umtiti goal.
|1||13 June 2017||Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France||8||England||1–1||3–2||Friendly|
|2||1 June 2018||Allianz Riviera, Nice, France||18||Italy||1–0||3–1|
|3||10 July 2018||Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia||24||Belgium||1–0||1–0||2018 FIFA World Cup|
- Coupe de France: 2011–12
- Trophée des Champions: 2012
- La Liga: 2017–18
- Copa del Rey: 2016–17, 2017–18
- Supercopa de España: 2016, 2018
- FIFA U-20 World Cup: 2013
- FIFA World Cup: 2018
- UEFA European Under-19 Championship Team of the Tournament: 2012
- UEFA Champions League Breakthrough XI: 2016
- FIFA FIFPro World XI 2nd team: 2018
- FIFA FIFPro World XI 5th team: 2017
- Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur: 2018