Samuel Umtiti, who won the 2018 World Cup with France and previously played for Barcelona, may have no choice but to retire.

Umtiti moved to Lille as a free agent this July on a deal that lasts until 2025. However, he hasn’t played regularly since 2019 due to knee problems he has had for over six years.

Despite manager Paulo Fonseca’s claims that Wednesday’s operation didn’t necessarily rule him out for the season, the player’s return date remains uncertain.

After a promising start with Lille, the 30-year-old has only played 13 games this season and will likely miss the remainder of the campaign.

He has also managed to complete just six matches. Diario AS says that sources in France suggest he’s contemplating retirement as he battles to break his unfortunate injury streak.

Terrible injury record doesn’t help

After a disappointing season with Barcelona, he got a fresh start last year on loan with Serie A club Lecce. Having signed a contract extension with the Blaugrana in January 2022, the player spent the next year in Italy.

Les Lillois felt he would solidify their backline upon arrival in France. Nevertheless, he has fallen victim to his fitness problems once again. The ex-Barca player has missed a total of 159 games due to injuries. The majority due to issues with his left knee.

His contract with Barcelona was amicably terminated after returning from loan last summer. Thus, he subsequently signed with Lille in France.

After agreeing to a five-year deal with the Catalan club in 2016, Umtiti transferred to Barca for $27 million. Although the Camp Nou side had their sights set on Marquinhos, they ultimately decided to acquire Umititi instead. Their reasoning was the much greater transfer price associated with the Brazilian.

What did World Cup winner Umtiti say of his Barca experience?

After relocating to Italy last year, the World Cup winner criticized Xavi’s side, comparing it to a prison.

“It felt like four years of being imprisoned, not just on a sporting level, but in my everyday life too.

“I was really in a bad way, I preferred to stay out of everyone’s way. At the start, I felt good and performed at a high level. But then I started to feel some diffidence towards me and realized then that nobody believed in me anymore”, he told Sport.

The experienced centre-back then spoke forward about letting go of the resentment after departing for Lille. In an interview with L’Equipe in September, he admitted:

“There are very difficult moments that I have lived through but, honestly, they are behind me now. I worked a lot on this because I had a lot of resentment, a lot of things inside me and in the end, it didn’t let me move forward.

“That’s life, I understood that in a career there are ups and downs, things that happen, some of which I can’t handle on my own. We adapt to the situation, that’s how it is now.

“It’s a message I pass on to the young players: we really have to live in the present moment, do our best, realize that we have the opportunity to do an incredible job and, when we are in good health, we really have to take advantage of it.”

Photo credits: IMAGO / PanoramiC : IMAGO / NurPhoto