Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti will reportedly play no part in his side’s next three games, thus ensuring he’ll miss some huge encounters.
The 25-year-old has struggled with a troublesome knee injury for the majority of the campaign, as it’s limited him to just eight appearances this season with his last outing in La Liga coming at the end of November.
While surgery has seemingly been avoided, it has led to a slow recovery process for the French international as he was included in the squad to face Lyon this week in the Champions League, but didn’t feature on the pitch.
According to Sport, he’ll be left out for the next three games too, with a league meeting against Sevilla this weekend followed by back-to-back clashes with rivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey and La Liga respectively.
With that in mind, it’s a major call to make as Umtiti’s presence in the line-up to offer defensive solidity could have been a huge factor in picking up positive results.
Instead, it appears as though Barcelona are keen to take no risks with the World Cup winner, and will keep him out of the XI with the Supercopa de Catalunya clash against Girona on March 6 touted as a potential comeback date for him.
Barcelona haven’t fared too badly without him as Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet have featured heavily in his absence.
Nevertheless, given the quality that Umtiti brings to the table, it will undoubtedly be a real frustration and a sense of disappointment that comes with him not being able to get back on the pitch.
Time will tell if he can make it back for the business end of the campaign, but given the importance of the upcoming games and the calibre of the opposition, it will be a major blow for coach Ernesto Valverde that he still isn’t considered ready to play regularly as Barca can’t afford any slip-ups now.