Samuel Umtiti is a professional footballer who plays for Spanish side Barcelona and represents the France national team on the international stage.
Umtiti, who has won seven different honors in France and Spain, plays the centre back position where he has been described as a tough tackling, no-nonsense, daring defender who is willing to put his body on the line as long as he stops the opponent from scoring.
Umtiti was born Samuel Yves Umtiti to Cameroonian parents in the country’s capital of Yaounde, on the 14th of November, 1993. His parents were said to be living in abject poverty, leading them to give their son away to a relative who lived in France so he could have a better life.
At the age of 2, Umtiti moved to France where he grew up amongst a large family of Cameroonian immigrants. Having seen the beautiful game as a way out of poverty, Umtiti was among the wave of black immigrant kids who enrolled at football academies all over France. They were boosted by the success of the immigrant-filled France 1998 team which delivered France’s first ever World Cup title.
Samuel Umtiti joined Lyon-based side Menival FC where he began to hone his footballing skills. By the age of 8, following a series of notable performances that caught the eyes of scouts, the player moved to the Academy of Ligue 1 club, Lyon, where he played as a forward. After a few years, Umtiti changed to become a midfielder before ultimately ending up playing in defence.
He spent all his junior career in the youth ranks of Lyon before making his professional debut for the senior team on the 8th of January, 2012, in a Coupe de France game against local rivals Lyon-Duchere in which his side won 3–1. He went on to make his Ligue 1 debut a few days later against Montpellier, making a total of 18 appearances in all competitions that season.
Samuel Umtiti became a regular fixture in the Lyon side in the 2012-13 season, making a total of 32 appearances. His growth as a player did not go unnoticed as by the 2015-16 season, he was named “Best Player of the Season” by the fans of his team, beating the likes of Alexandre Lacazette to the award. Unfortunately for his fans, his meteoric rise was not only noticed by the Lyon fans as Barcelona swooped in at the end of the season to acquire his services.
The Spanish club paid Lyon a transfer fee of €25 million and Umtiti, after having played 170 times for the French side, moved to the Catalan side, making his debut in the second leg of the 2016 Supercopa de España which Barcelona won to give him his first trophy with the side. He went on to establish himself as a first-team defender alongside Gerard Pique, beating out Javier Mascherano and Thomas Vermaelen.
Samuel Umtiti has so far made a total of 83 appearances for Barcelona, scoring two goals along the way.
Despite having strong links to Cameroon, and even being persuaded by the football federation of his country of origin as well as its former forward, Roger Milla, to play for the Indomitable Lions, Samuel Umtiti chose to represent France at the international level.
He started off with the youth teams, notably winning the FIFA U-20 World Cup before moving onto the senior team. He was then part of the squad that came second in the 2016 European Championship before becoming a mainstay in the side. In 2018, Umtiti was one of the first names written down by Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps to be called up to the squad to play in the World Cup.
As at the time of writing, Umtiti has made 24 senior appearances for France, scoring three goals, one of which secured his team’s passage to the final of the 2018 World Cup.
Height, Weight, and Body Measurements
With a weight of 75 kg, it is no surprise that the imposing Samuel Umtiti is able to dispose of his opponents from the ball at will. His height of 6 feet 0 inches (1.82 m) also gives him an edge in defending aerially while also making him a threat in the opposition box for corner kicks. His other body measurements are unknown.