Samuel Umtiti: Celebration unrelated to Barcelona contract situation
Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti says his goal celebration during Wednesday’s 4-1 Champions League quarterfinal first-leg win over Roma was not connected to his current contract situation.
Umtiti, linked to a move to Manchester United, heightened speculation over his future while on international duty last week by pointing out that his current €60 million release clause was “not much.”
That declaration came amid reports that he was looking for a substantial pay rise from the Camp Nou board.
After pressuring Roma defender Kostas Manolas into an own-goal early in the second half, Umtiti ran towards the cameras grabbing the badge on his shirt. He told beIN SPORTS after the game that only some of the media speculation over his future was correct.
“It was not a [special message], I [just] wanted to say that I love this club,” Umtiti said. “I have nothing much else to say. I just stick to playing and doing well on the pitch. That is the most important for me. That is what I will keep trying to do. The rest are things that come out in the press — some true, some false — but I focus on football.”
Umtiti, under contract until 2021, has been a success since his €25m arrival in 2016. Barca have recently been linked with Sevilla’s Clement Lenglet as a possible replacement should Umtiti leave this summer.
Meanwhile, Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta refused to be drawn on his future plans when speaking to beIN SPORTS on Tuesday night.
Iniesta, 34 in May, is reportedly set to decide before the end of the season whether this is to be his last at the Camp Nou.
“At the moment when I have to make the announcement, you will then know what it is,” Iniesta said when asked if he could clarify his thinking.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said this week he would not try to influence a decision the veteran had earned the right to make himself.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan