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Samuel Umtiti

Samuel Umtiti, football player
  • Name S. Umtiti
  • Full name Samuel Yves Umtiti
  • Date of birth 14 November 1993 (age 30)
  • Birth country Cameroon
  • Birth place Yaoundé
  • Nationality France
  • Height 182 cm
  • Weight 75 kg
  • Position Defender
  • Current team Lille
  • Current transfer fee € 3.000.000


Samuel Umtiti is a professional footballer playing centre back for Ligue 1 club Lille. He was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon in 1993. At the age of two, his family moved to Villeurbanne, France. A few months later, however, they settled in the district of Ménival, Lyon. In 2008, Umtiti acquired French nationality, thus gaining dual citizenship in both Cameroon and France.

2012 saw him start his career with Lyon, where he won the Trophée des Champions and Coupe de France in his debut season. In 2016, Umtiti moved to Barcelona, where he won two league championships and three Copa del Rey. He returned to France in 2023 with Lille following a loan at Lecce in Italy.

He participated in the squad that won the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He made his senior debut for the France national team at UEFA Euro 2016, where he reached the final.

Club career

Early years

At the age of five, Umtiti joined the local football club Ménival and spent his first few youth years with them.

Samuel Umtiti in local football club at age of 6

A picture of Menival Club in Lyon, France, where a young Samuel Umtiti began his football career.

When he was nine, he started practicing at Lyon’s youth academy before joining the senior team in 2011.

Umtiti played regularly throughout the 2012-13 season and registered his first career goal for the club on 12 January 2013 against Troyes in a 2–1 away win. The Lyon fans named him the Best Player of the Season for his brilliant performance.


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 team. On 12 January 2013, he scored his first career goal against Troyes in a 2–1 away win. He finished the season with 32 appearances in all competitions and two goals.

Samuel Umtiti playing at Lyon Football Club

Samuel Umtiti playing at Olympique Lyon Club


On 30 June 2016, Umtiti signed for La Liga side Barcelona for a fee of €25 million. On 17 August, he made his first appearance for the team in the second leg of the 2016 Supercopa de España, where Barcelona won 3–0 versus Sevilla and lifted the trophy. During the same year, Umtiti picked up a knee injury in September while in training, causing him to miss a crucial La Liga clash against Atlético Madrid.

He scored his first goal for Barcelona on 4 March 2017 against Celta de Vigo, with the club winning 5–0 at 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.

Injury and Comeback

Umtiti, who had already established himself as the club’s first-choice defender after Barcelona’s unconvincing performance in the 2017 SIPA de España in the wake of Neymar’s departure, started the new season in fine form under new manager Ernesto Valverde.

On 2 December, Umtiti injured his right hamstring and was ruled out for eight weeks. He 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, he made his first start 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.

Contract Renewal and Challenges

On 3 June 2018, Umtiti signed a new five-year contract with Barcelona. The release clause was subsequently set at €500 million. He was appointed as a substitute for the 2018 Supercopa de España behind Piqué and a new summer signing, Clément Lenglet. Even though Umtiti was not on the pitch and Barcelona lost 2–1 to Sevilla, he collected his fifth winners’ medal of the season.

In 2018, Umtiti picked up a knee injury. Eventually, the defender spent much of the following season with Barcelona injured because of the conservative therapy instead of surgery. Fitness issues have plagued him since 2020, therefore he was eventually reduced to a supporting role for Barcelona.

Loan to Lecce

On 25 August 2022, Barcelona announced that they had reached an agreement with newly promoted Serie A side Lecce on the loan of Umtiti until 30 June 2023. He made his debut with the club on 9 October, starting and playing 90 minutes in a 2–1 loss against Roma.

In January 2023, Umtiti was subjected to racist abuse by a group of Lazio fans during a home league match against Lecce. The Lazio supporters continued to shout abuse for most of the match, forcing the referee, Livio Martinelli, to call off the game for a few minutes in the second half. Lecce eventually won with Umtiti bursting into tears at the end of the game and being praised for his performance. In the post-match, Lazio issued a statement on social media apologizing for their supporters’ behaviour, while FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressed his support for the French defender in an Instagram message.

Umtiti contributed significantly to the defence during the season and helped Lecce defeat Monza on May 28 to guarantee their place in Serie A.

Contract Termination with Barcelona and Current Standing with Lille

On 30 June 2023, Barcelona announced they had mutually agreed to end Umtiti’s contract. Same year, in July, Umtiti signed for France’s Ligue 1 club Lille until 2025.

National career


Samuel Umtiti was a French youth international representing 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. However, he had to sit out the final against Uruguay due to a red card received in the semi-final against Ghana.

Samuel Umtiti bringing France to the 2018 World Cup final with a victory over Belgium

Samuel Umtiti bringing France to the 2018 World Cup final with a victory over Belgium (1-0)


He 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 the senior level, was selected by the French national team manager Didier Deschamps to be part of France’s squad for the European Championship in 2016 following an injury to the compatriot Jérémy Mathieu.

Debut and Performance

He 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. He was accurate with all 77 of his passes during the match, which France won 5–2. He later earned highly 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, equalizing 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 game’s only goal, heading in a corner. On 15 July, Umtiti was named as a starter as France beat Croatia 4–2 in the final.

Umtiti continued to play for the French national team in 2019, scoring the only goal in a UEFA 2020 European Qualification against Iceland.

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