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12th Mar 2017

Forget Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez or Neymar, Barcelona’s success appears to depend on one man

Crazy stat

Ben Kiely

The current Barcelona side only has one talisman, and he’s a central defender.

Players like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar have become synonymous with the Catalan giants because of their ridiculous skill-sets and magical highlight reels. They are often held up as these vital cogs in the Barcelona machine. If one of them goes, the whole system breaks down, but that’s not necessarily the case.

All the aforementioned superstars have played on a losing Barcelona side this season. A true talisman ensures victory by his very presence on the pitch, even if he doesn’t necessarily contribute to scoring goals. For Barcelona, that player is none other than centre back Samuel Umtiti.

Whenever the Frenchman togs out for Barcelona, they always seem to win.

The numbers do not lie, and Umtiti’s numbers in La Liga this season have been absolutely sensational.

Ignore the goal count. While his solitary goal this campaign isn’t exactly a bad return for a defender in a team stacked with lethal attackers, the number everyone should be focusing on is 16.

Umtiti has played 16 league games for Barca this season and remarkably, every single one of them have been victories. No draws, absolutely no losses, Barcelona have received three points every single time Umititi has played, whether that be as a starter or the one time he came off the bench.

Without Umititi, Barcelona fall apart. They have picked up just two wins in the 11 games when he has not played. Six of those matches ended level, while three of them ended in defeat.

There’s no doubt about it, he is the key to Barcelona’s success.

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