Former Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti given warm reception on Leece return

Former Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti given warm reception on Leece’s return

The French defender had a tumultuous career at Barcelona since his arrival in 2016 from Olympique Lyon and fell down the pecking order in the subsequent seasons.

His seven-year tenure marred by injuries ended in June 2023 when Barcelona reached an agreement with Umtiti to terminate his contract. He played 133 times for Barcelona, winning three Copa del Rey trophies, two La Liga titles, and two Supercopa de Espana.

Why did Samuel Umtiti receive a warm reception at Serie A club Leece?

Before terminating his contract with the Catalan giants, Umtiti spent the 2022/23 campaign on loan at Leece where he helped the Italian club avoid relegation making 25 appearances in the process.

The move to Italy seemed like a breath of fresh air for the injury-prone defender who gradually rediscovered his form in the Serie A attracting the interest of other Italian giants Inter Milan and AS Roma.

After completing his loan spell at Leece, Umtiti bid an emotional goodbye who was seen as an important factor in the club’s survival last season.

“I would like to first thank Mr Corvino and Lecce for reaching out to me, when other teams doubted me. Thank you for your trust.

“I have found a team with values ​​and with an exceptional mentality. We had a goal at the beginning of the season and we have achieved it through work. For me, staying in Serie A is like winning a title.

“Fans thank you for your support from the first to the last day. We are forever connected. I leave with a heart full of love from you. Heartfelt thanks and Forza Lecce forever.”

The 30-year-old defender was in attendance for Lecce’s 1-1 draw against Monza and the supporters chanted his name before kick-off at the Stadio Via del Mare on Saturday afternoon.

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