Barcelona star planning on a comeback after being “imprisoned” by the club for four years.
Samuel Umtiti has criticized Barcelona, alleging he felt “imprisoned” during his time with the club.
Umtiti is presently on loan from Barcelona to Lecce, where he has made 23 Serie A appearances this year.
Following some challenging years in Catalonia, the 29-year-old defender has attempted to regain his confidence.
In 2016, he moved to Barcelona from Lyon for €25 million (£20.6 million) and went on to make 133 appearances, helping the club achieve two LaLiga titles and three Copa del Rey.
However, after years of significant contributions, he sustained a severe knee injury and was subsequently rejected by the Spanish giants.
Umtiti has three years remaining on his contract with Barcelona, which he renewed last year at a reduced rate to assist the club meet financial regulations.
Given his dissatisfaction with how the club has treated him, however, he appears to have little chance of surviving those years.
It felt like I was imprisoned at Barcelona for four years, not only on a sporting level but also in my daily existence, Umtiti told Canal+.
“I was in such a bad mood that I chose to remain out of everyone’s way. I initially felt confident and performed at a high level, but then I began to doubt myself and realized that nobody believed in me anymore.”
Last summer, Barcelona attempted to terminate Umtiti’s contract, but the former France international refused and instead demanded a loan agreement. A return to Lyon was considered, but the French club had doubts about his fitness, prompting Lecce to sign him.
Lecce are currently 16th in Serie A, three points above the relegation zone, with two games remaining. Umtiti is currently focused on preserving Lecce in Serie A. After the season concludes, he will evaluate his options, with Lyon at the top of the list.
“I’m still under contract with Barcelona until 2026, but it’s true that I need to feel respected and valued, and I’m happy in Italy,” he said. “I adore the language, the cuisine, and the fashion.
“Returning to Lyon to compete alongside Alexandre Lacazette? Recently, we were discussing it. I’d love to perform with him again before the conclusion of my career.
It is too early to discuss it, but certainly, Lecce is a springboard for me. Everyone believed I was deceased, but I knew I would return and ascend once more.
“After these four difficult years, I am doing very well and am very pleased. I eventually found a joy and the desire to play football once more.
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I realized that if my confidence was restored, I would be able to express myself as I did several years ago.”
Barcelona star planning on a comeback after being “imprisoned” by the club for four years