Samuel Umtiti was in tears after receiving hero's welcome from Lecce fans

It’s been really tough going in the football world for Samuel Umtiti in recent years – to say the least.

In the summer of 2018, the talented defender was on cloud nine after playing a key role in France’s second World Cup triumph out in Russia.

Umtiti was one of the standout players at the tournament and even bagged the only goal in Les Bleus’ 1-0 semi-final victory over Belgium.

On top of his success on international duty, the 28-year-old was smashing it in the centre of Barcelona‘s defence alongside Gerard Pique.

But since the summer of 2018, Umtiti’s career has nosedived quite dramatically due to him suffering a plethora of serious injuries.

In the past three seasons, the former Lyon man has made just 35 appearances at club level and he hasn’t played for France since 2019.

Yeah, it’s been incredibly difficult for Umtiti, but he’s finally had something to be happy about career-wise after securing a loan move to Italian outfit Lecce for the 2022/23 season.

Per Goal, Barcelona will cover his whole salary and the reason they’re doing that is because Umtiti’s exit brings them closer to being able to register marquee summer signing Jules Kounde.

It really is a win-win situation for both parties.

Umtiti now stands a very good chance of getting regular first-team football at a club in one of Europe’s top five leagues for the first time since 2017/18.

And that was probably the main reason why the World Cup winner was overcome with emotion when receiving a hero’s welcome from Lecce fans on Thursday evening.

In fact, Umtiti was so happy that he was actually reduced to tears for a brief moment…

Video: Umtiti gets emotional after meeting Lecce fans

It’s virtually impossible not to feel over the moon for Umtiti. After all the injury nightmares at Barcelona, he’s been given a second chance at an age which most still consider to be a footballer’s prime.

Go and smash it over in Italy, Samuel.

Umtiti faces a tough task keeping Lecce in Serie A, though. The club are winless from their first two games of the 2022/23 season, although the fixtures weren’t exactly the easiest for them.

They only lost 2-1 at home to Inter Milan in their opener, before suffering a 1-0 defeat at Sassuolo.

With a player of Umtiti’s quality on board, Serie A survival is certainly not out of the question…

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