?Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has claimed that playing through the pain barrier at last summer’s World Cup has led to his injury problems this season.
Umtiti was an ever-present in the French side that achieved World Cup glory in Russia, but has only made ten appearances for the Spanish champions in this campaign due to fitness issues.
The 25-year-old was out for six weeks between September and November, and for another 10 weeks after re-injuring his knee on his return against Atletico Madrid on 24 November.
“I had to work on strengthening my quadriceps and a whole chain of muscles [around the knee],” Umtiti told L’Equipe.
“I had to work three times harder to get back. During the World Cup, I didn’t necessarily do what was necessary – or rather, things were done that I should have avoided.
“I have always been professional but there are protocols and certain things that you are asked to do even though they aren’t necessarily good in the long-term. I regret those things a little bit.
Umtiti decided to undergo treatment in Qatar rather than surgery, but claims reports that Barça were angered by this decision were not true.
“There were times when I said I should give up and have an operation. But I held out. During that time, I was quite cold and closed. I wasn’t happy. I just wanted to get out of that nightmare.
“But contrary to what certain people have said, I have never been in conflict with my club over the steps to take. They have always listened to what I felt.”