Sunday was a bittersweet day for fans of Barcelona.
In the afternoon, the Blaugrana recorded their second victory of the new La Liga season with a 2-1 win over Getafe. However, just a few hours later, club legend Lionel Messi made his debut for his new side Paris Saint-Germain – a move that many Barca fans still haven’t come to terms with.
The Catalan giants were forced to part company with Messi earlier this month after their dire financial situation made it impossible for the club to offer a new contract to their highest-ever goalscorer.
There’s no getting around it. Barcelona are facing some pretty substantial financial woes. At one point, though, a plan was devised that would have allowed the club to retain the services of the Argentinian superstar. However, that solution involved asking many of the bigger earners in the squad to take significant pay cuts.
The only player to respond positively to the club’s plea was defender Gerard Pique.
Barca were even willing to let certain players leave the club for free in order to help lighten the load of their crippling wage bill – and potentially enable them to keep hold of Messi. One of those asked to consider tearing up his contract was French central defender Samuel Umtiti.
The 27-year-old insisted that the club must honour his contract, which led to him being mercilessly booed by Barcelona fans during their Joan Gamper Trophy clash with Juventus – a match that took place just hours after Messi had officially bid farewell to the club.
Despite being upset by the reaction he received, Umtiti has not changed his stance. The club would still very much like to cut ties with the former Lyon man, but he is in no mood to budge.
The frosty relationship between Umtiti and Barca fans seems to grow ever more strained with each week he remains on the payroll.
A Twitter clip of Umtiti warming up during the second-half of Sunday’s match has gone viral, thanks to the deeply hostile reception he was given by his own team’s supporters. You can hear the reaction for yourself in the video below, which makes it clear that Umtiti is highly unlikely to ever be forgiven by the Camp Nou faithful.
Two men that were wildly more popular with the home crowd than Umtiti this weekend, though, were Barca goalscorers against Getafe – Sergi Roberto and Memphis Depay. Despite all of the club’s problems at boardroom level, the team have managed to keep things together on the pitch, currently sitting in fourth place in La Liga at this early stage of the season.
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It’s tough, however, to see any reason to be encouraged for Umtiti when it comes to his Barcelona future. Despite being subjected to the boos of the crowd during his warm-up, the defender was ultimately an unused substitute by Ronald Koeman.
At present, it’s hard to imagine the Barca boss being keen to call on his services at all.
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