The strongest possible Barcelona lineup has a new member. Welcome to the Gala XI, Samuel Umtiti.
According to a report from Diario Sport, the French center-back will be picked ahead of Javier Mascherano and will start as Gerard Piqué's partner in Barça's massive UEFA Champions League match against Manchester City, Wednesday at Camp Nou. Umtiti was rested during last Saturday's La Liga match against Deportivo La Coruña to be fully healthy and available to face the Citizens, having missed the last four weeks of action due to a sprained knee ligament suffered in training, which was the first injury of his career.
The young Frenchman quickly became the perfect partner to Piqué ever since signing from Lyon over the summer, and thanks to Mascherano's poor form at the start of the season, Umtiti was viewed by Luis Enrique and the coaching staff as a starting center-back in the Gala XI. His pace, strength and technique stood out since his first appearance for the club, and the 22-year-old has been the best of the all summer signings.
Luis Enrique is not worried about Umtiti playing in what promises to be a very intense match against the Citizens, and the coach is confident that the player will not suffer from any kind of rust on Wednesday.
Again, this is just a report from Diario Sport, but it's important to mention that while they're pretty bad when it comes to transfer rumors, SPORT usually gets these kinds of reports on the team right most of the time.
It this one is accurate as well, go get 'em, Big Sammy!