Samuel Umtiti is a professional footballer who plays for the Spanish team Barcelona and represents the French national team on the international stage.
Umtiti, who has won seven different awards in France and Spain, plays in the central defender position, where he is described as a tough tackler who defends himself without swearing and daring and is prepared to put his body on the line as long as it prevents his opponent from scoring.
Umtiti was born on 14 November 1993 in the Cameroonian capital Yaounde as Samuel Yves Umtiti, the son of Cameroonian parents. His parents are said to have lived in abject poverty, which prompted them to give their son away to a relative who lived in France so that he could lead a better life.
At the age of 2, Umtiti moved to France, where he grew up in a large family of Cameroonian immigrants. Seeing the beautiful game as a way out of poverty, Umtiti was part of the wave of black immigrant children enrolling in football academies across France. They were spurred on by the success of the immigrant-filled French team of 1998, which won France’s first-ever world championship title.
Samuel Umtiti joined Lyon-based Menival FC, where he began honing his footballing skills. At the age of eight, after a series of remarkable performances that caught the eye of the Scouts, the player moved to the Academy of Ligue 1 club in Lyon, where he played as a striker. After a few years, Umtiti moved to the midfielder before finally ending up in the defense.
He spent his entire junior career in the Lyon youth departments before making his professional debut in the senior side on 8 January 2012, in a Coupe de France match against local rivals Lyon-Duchere in which his side won 3-1. A few days later, he made his debut in Ligue 1 against Montpellier, where he played a total of 18 appearances in all the competitions of the season.
In the 2012-13 season, Samuel Umtiti became an integral part of the Lyon team with a total of 32 appearances. His development as a player did not go unnoticed as he was voted “best player of the season” by his team’s fans in the 2015-16 season, beating players like Alexandre Lacazette. Much to the chagrin of his fans, his meteoric rise was not only noticed by the fans in Lyon when Barcelona marched in to claim his services at the end of the season.
The Spanish club paid Lyon a transfer fee of 25 million euros, and Umtiti, having played for the French side 170 times, moved to the Catalan side and made his debut in the return leg of the Supercopa de España 2016, which Barcelona won to present him with his first trophy with the team. He then established himself as the first-team defender alongside Gerard Pique, beating Javier Mascherano and Thomas Vermaelen.
Samuel Umtiti has made 83 appearances for Barcelona to date, scoring two goals in the process.
Although Samuel Umtiti has strong ties with Cameroon and has even been persuaded by his home country’s football association and former striker Roger Milla to play for the Indomitable Lions, Samuel Umtiti chose to represent France at the international level.
He started out with the youth teams, particularly winning the FIFA U-20 World Cup, before moving on to the senior side. He then joined the squad that finished runners-up at the 2016 European Championship before becoming a permanent fixture in the team. In 2018, Umtiti was one of the first names written down by Didier Deschamps, manager of Les Bleus, to be appointed to the squad for the World Cup.
At the time of writing, Umtiti has made 24 senior appearances for France, scoring three goals, one of which ensured his team’s place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final.
Height, Weight, and Body Measurements
Weighing in at 75 kg, it is no surprise that the imposing Samuel Umtiti can dispose of his opponents from the ball at will. His height of 1.82 m (6 feet 0 inches) also gives him an advantage in air defense and makes him a threat even in the opponent’s box at corners. His other body measurements are unknown.