Samuel Umtiti reveals he talked about Barcelona with Antoine Griezmann

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Ever since his move from Lyon to Barcelona, Samuel Umtiti has made a name for himself in world football, rising to become one of the best young defenders in the game.

The French international knows that his release clause is low (€60 million) and that could be triggered anytime, with top European clubs like Manchester United interested in signing him, but he is happy to stay at Barca.

Speaking in an interview with Canal Football Clubhe said, “My clause is low, everyone is conscious of that. It’s something that affects me but it doesn’t interest me.

“The truth is that there is interest from various clubs. But, once more, I’ve got so many objectives to reach at Barcelona that I’m not thinking about it. Everything goes very fast in this world. All I can say is that I’m really happy.”

The 24-year-old made it clear that no talks have taken place with other clubs. “This isn’t something I want to talk about too much. Nothing has started yet,” he said.

Umtiti is a regular starter for Ernesto Valverde‘s unbeaten La Liga leaders and forms a defensive partnership with club legend Gerard Pique.

Antoine Griezmann (L) jokes with France's defender Samuel Umtiti

“It was my dream to play at Barca. And I achieved it when I was just 22. I’m very happy here, whenever I play and whenever I train,” said Umtiti, adding that his best moment in a Blaugrana shirt was that historic 6-1 comeback against PSG in last season’s Champions League last 16 clash.

“The ‘Remontada’ against PSG is my favourite moment at this club. It showed that we can do anything. It was something very special.

“In fact, when I went to Paris after that game, and I wanted to enter a restaurant, they told me there are no tables available, when actually the entire restaurant was empty (laughs).”

Meanwhile, the hulking defender also talked about his international teammate Antoine Griezmann, who has been heavily linked with a move to Camp Nou.

Asked about his fellow Frenchman, Umtiti added: “Griezmann to Barca? I am an agent now? (laughs). Yes, we did talk about it.

“I asked Griezmann what he thought of Barca and everything about the club. As any other player, he said only good things.

“All players at the level of Antoine dream of playing here. If Griezmann comes, we will have to play with six attackers.”

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Valverde hails Barcelona's spirit as Messi helps keep unbeaten La Liga record intact

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Barca boss Valverde happy with his men.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde praised his side for not losing faith after Lionel Messi came off the bench to net a last-minute equaliser as the La Liga leaders fought back to draw 2-2 at Sevilla.

Franco Vazquez fired the home side, who are chasing a top-five finish, into the lead after 36 minutes and there looked no way back when Colombia forward Luis Muriel added another early in the second half.

Barca’s talisman, who has been carrying a hamstring problem, was sent on for the last 30 minutes and immediately lifted his team.

Even though Sevilla had missed several chances to kill off the match, Luis Suarez set up a grandstand finish before messi clipped in a dramatic equaliser.

The draw saw Valverde’s men extend their unbeaten LaLiga run to 37 matches and edged them closer to regaining the title, not to mention a confidence boost going into their Champions League quarter-final against Juventus.

“We took a chance, things were not going that well for us,” Valverde said in an interview on the club’s official website.

“In the first half, despite them creating chances, we also had some as well. It was fairly even, but they went into the break with an advantage and then scored a second just after half-time.

“They had the chance then to play on the counter-attack and when they did that we had to come back, but you know what can happen.

“However, if you have faith you can keep playing. We were looking for the goal to get us back into the game, we did and then we got the second.

“If there had been five more minutes, I don’t know what would have happened.

“This will be great for the spirit of the team because we know how important the game was to keep that run without losing going.”

Sevilla host German side Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Head coach Vincenzo Montella admitted it was a bittersweet result.

“I’m proud of the team. We had chances to finish the game and it was painful because Barcelona have great players,” Montella said in quotes published on the club’s official website.

“You’re a bit angry of course and nervous (with Barcelona’s comeback), but I’m also proud because the team played with confidence.

“We have to improve but football is like that.

“I think this is good for Tuesday (against Bayern) because we’ll go into the game with even more enthusiasm.”

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Lionel Messi is football's great saviour and other Sevilla 2-2 Barcelona talking points

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Lionel Messi celebrates his late equaliser for Barcelona at Sevilla in La Liga (PA).

Lionel Messi came off the substitutes’ bench and ensured Barcelona’s unbeaten run dramatically remained intact after the runaway La Liga leaders fought back from two-goals down to draw 2-2 at Sevilla.

The iconic Barca forward had failed to feature for Argentina during the international break because of a hamstring complaint. With this and Wednesday’s quarter-final opener against Roma in the Champions League in mind, head coach Ernesto Valverde chose caution.

This approach appeared to have ended the club’s unbeaten run in the top flight at the 36-match mark on Saturday when Italy attacking midfielder Franco Vazquez slotted in on 36 minutes and Colombia forward Luis Muriel struck from a rebound shortly after half-time.

Further chances then went begging for Sevilla before the visitors’ stellar late salvage act. Uruguay striker Luis Suarez – who earlier struck the post – acrobatically volleyed home in the 88th minute following a corner and then Messi swept in a ferocious left-footed strike from 25 yards just seconds later.

Here are the talking points:

STOP MAKING A MESSI OF IT

There has been no greater trump card to play in the history of football.

The Blaugruna were shapeless and error prone before Valverde looked to his bench on 58 minutes. Off went exasperating France winger Ousmane Dembele after a team-high four dispossessions and on came five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Messi.

The early signs weren’t promising as the great man slowly got back up to speed after two weeks without match action. But a sighter from outside the penalty box that curled narrowly wide of Sergio Rico’s goal should have set alarm bells ringing.

When the ball fell to him again moments after Suarez’s flexible intervention, you just knew a first-time shot with that legendary left boot would find the bottom corner.

‘Messidependencia’ is alive and well. In March alone, he’s proven the difference against opponents such as Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and now Sevilla.

This latest episode marked a memorable 36th goal in 44 run-outs this term. It also moved him level with compatriot Paulo Dybala of Juventus with the most strikes – seven – from outside the area in Europe, as well as make it a La Liga-high 17 points rescued from losing positions this term by Barca.

Real Sociedad’s landmark 38-match unbeaten top-flight spell from 1979-80 was ended by Sevilla. In January 2017, Real Madrid’s 40-match run in all competitions went the same way at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

They didn’t have Messi to throw on.

UMTITI’S A WORRY

Before the winter break, Samuel Umtiti could do no wrong.

The France centre-back was second behind only Messi for the consistent excellence of his contribution to the Barca cause. Amid an ongoing wrangle about a contract extension, he’s slipped from this exalted position.

The 24-year-old was all over the place at Sanchez Pizjuan. You could have parked a double-decker bus in the gap between him and Gerard Pique for Vazquez’s opener, while his slow reactions in the scramble for Muriel’s second ensured he could only deflect the shot past Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Even worse was to come. A rash attempt to win the ball – in an incident that bore hallmarks of his error for Russia’s consolation against Les Bleus last Tuesday – put Jesus Navas clean through in an incident from which any hope of a Barca recovery should have been killed off.

Similar errors have been seen against Girona and at Las Palmas. This is not the way to go about securing an enormous wage rise.

VALVERDE’S LESSONS TO BE LEARNED

If the rumours are true, the current Barca supremo would have taken some convincing to hand a sixth La Liga start to €105 million (Dh475.5m) summer buy Dembele.

A near hour of fitful interventions then followed from a 20-year-old who still appears out of step with the Barca machine.

This performance will be the main takeaway headed into the midweek continental clash.

Dembele’s performance wasn’t without its positives. An early dart and fine pass sent Suarez through for an effort that just skimmed wide.

The ex-Borussia Dortmund and Rennes prospect also completed three dribbles and his only shot was on target. But as a reference point, Brazil playmaker Philippe Coutinho – ineligible on Wednesday – completed two more dribbles and was dispossessed just once.

Spain veteran Andres Iniesta made it to four dribbles within his 80 minutes and didn’t lose the ball once.

Can Dembele be trusted to start against Roma? Such faith was rewarded with a goal against Chelsea, so the decision isn’t an easy one.

Similarly, Valverde must hope Sergio Busquets is back in time from a broken bone in his foot to anchor the midfield.

Brazil international Paulinho continues to run out of steam. From the 42nd appearance of his debut campaign, he made one tackle, zero interceptions and zero clearances in the same role.

A leading pass accuracy of 97.1 per cent also led to no key passes. Plus, he had no attempts on goal.

Food for thought with Roma in mind.

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