Samuel Umtiti, the French FC Barcelona defender, has spoken about his injury in an interview with L’Equipe. Umtiti confessed that “I was not happy”.
During the interview he was asked how the injury has been developing and if he is ready to play. “It’s the coach who takes the decisions, but I’m very happy to be able to play. It’s something that I couldn’t do for three months. I might be able to stay in the line up or not, but the important thing is that my health is good, my knee and body are responding well.”
Umtiti explained that after the joy of the World Cup, it has not been an easy season for him.
“I came from an extraordinary World Cup, where a dream I had as a child came true. After that I had some problems with my ankle before and during the competition. I gritted my teeth and played the best I could.
“When I came back to Barcelona, it happened again. So I took the decision to stop to look after my knee. It’s taken me longer than I hoped.”
Over the controversial process of choosing a conservative recovery program instead of surgery, Umtiti said: “There were different versions but I don’t like expressing myself and much less at times like this. I worked hard and had a bad time. I had different opinions, a mess in my head. I didn’t know what decision to make. But I took the best one.”
He also said he chose to go to Qatar to “take a step back and not choose the easy option. The easy thing would have been an operation.
“But I'm not like that. I'm strong mentally and I don't give up, even when it's tough. It was. Yes, were there were times when I said I should give up and have an operation. But I held out. I was also fortunate to have good people around me. Even if it wasn't easy for them.
“During that time, I was quite cold and closed. I wasn't happy… It was weighing on me, and I just wanted to get out of that nightmare.
"I had to work on strengthening my quadriceps and a whole chain of muscles. I had a big imbalance. I had had it for quite a while, and I had to work three times harder to get back. During the World Cup, I didn't necessarily do what I needed to. Or rather, did things I should have avoided."