Barça’s Umtiti may require knee surgery

Samuel Umtiti has not played for Barcelona since September 26. (AFP pic)

BARCELONA: Barcelona’s World Cup-winning defender Samuel Umtiti’s knee injury is not healing as planned and he may be forced to undergo surgery which would put him out of action until 2019, Spanish media reported on Thursday.

The France centre-back has not played for the La Liga champions since their shock 2-1 defeat by Leganés on September 26, with Barça saying was out of action due to discomfort in his left knee.

Barcelona-based newspaper Sport said on Thursday the injury is taking longer to clear up than expected, and Umtiti and the club must decide whether to opt for knee surgery, which would leave him on the sidelines for several months, or to undergo treatment to regenerate the cartilage.

Spanish daily Mundo Deportivo said Umtiti is expected to miss Barça’s top-of-the-table clash with Sevilla on October 20 and El Clásico against Real Madrid on October 28, as well as the Champions League home game against Inter Milan on October 24.

Barcelona did not immediately respond to a request to comment from Reuters.

Barça are second in the La Liga standings but have the worst defensive record of the top eight teams in the league, having shipped nine goals in eight games. They have conceded 12 goals in 11 matches in all competitions.

Ernesto Valverde’s side are without a win in their last four league games.