According to Spanish outlet Sport, the medical team at La Liga giants Barcelona are growing increasingly concerned over the knee problems being endured by defender Samuel Umtiti.
25-year-old stopper Umtiti played a starring role alongside Raphael Varane at the heart of France’s back-4 at the World Cup in Russia this summer, eventually leading his side to international glory on the grandest stage of them all.
However, the former Lyon man’s return to club football has since proven a major disappointment.
Umtiti has managed just 7 starts between the Champions League and La Liga thus far this season.
This is due to an ongoing problem with the powerful defender’s left knee.
Despite having been expected to return some time ago, Umtiti has featured just once since the end of September, during a league clash with Atletico Madrid last month.
Barcelona themselves provided an update on their star stopper’s fitness yesterday, revealing that Umtiti is set to return to Catalunya from Qatar later this month for further ‘conservative treatment’ on his knee:
‘Samuel Umtiti was evaluated by the Club’s Medical Services staff at the team’s training center this morning. [This was] due to the discomfort in his left knee. Samuel Umtiti will return on December 30 to continue undergoing conservative treatment on his knee.’
‘This conservative treatment plan was announced on December 2 with the goal of allowing him to heal his left knee. The player was in Doha, Qatar in recent weeks for physical therapy under the supervision of the Club’s Medical staff.’
However, as per the aforementioned report from Sport this afternoon, the Blaugrana are growing increasingly concerned by Umtiti’s lack of progress towards full fitness:
‘At the club they are worried about him.’
‘He is young and this knee cartilage problem is not usual in players as young as him. There are parts of loose cartilage, something that forced Carles Puyol to retire.’
The Spanish outlet also add that, in the case that the Frenchman’s recovery continues to stall, Barca will be left with no alternative but to have Umtiti go under the knife:
‘The recommendation from some was that Umtiti should take surgery.’
‘The reason Umtiti didn’t take surgery is because the chances of overcoming the issue is high without it. However, if that does not happen, eventually he will take the surgery.’