Samuel Umtiti believes Neymar and Kylian Mbappe can play together in the same XI for Paris Saint-Germain this season after Neymar paid a surprise visit to his former Barcelona teammates on Monday.
Neymar, who scored in PSG’s 3-1 win against Angers on Saturday, is in Barcelona to take part in a poker event and took advantage of his time to visit Barca’s training ground. He posted photographs on his Instagram account with Ivan Rakitic, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Luis Suarez after catching up with his former teammates.
PSG paid a record €222 million to sign Neymar from Barca last summer and have paired him in attack with Mbappe, who cost €180m after an initial loan from Monaco. Despite their spending, PSG fell short in the Champions League last season, exiting the competition in the round of 16 against Real Madrid.
“Neymar was a very good teammate to have when he was at Barcelona,” Umtiti told Canal+. “He’s somebody who is always full of joy, who is always happy and who is always playing pranks and making jokes.
“We know all about Neymar’s qualities. He can unlock any match. He is [playing] at an exceptional level. Neymar together with Kylian Mbappe … players of their talent are made to play together. There is no reason why it should not work.”
Umtiti spent one season playing with Neymar at the Camp Nou and is teammates with Mbappe with France, who won the World Cup in July.
Even though a month has passed since France beat Croatia in the final, Umtiti said he cannot believe they won.
“I think about the World Cup title every single day,” Umtiti said. “When I pick up my phone, I see it as it is my wallpaper. It is true that I think about it all the time, even when I speak with my family or teammates who shared these moments with me.
“We had a wonderful squad. Honestly, I could have spent two more months with them. It was fun, but at the same time, also serious. It is all well and good to have won the World Cup but there were other things behind it too. You have to stay focused and not try to be somebody else.”
Umtiti, 24, is still one of the younger members of Barca’s first team, but he has accepted more responsibility since Ernesto Valverde took charge last season.
He is already looking to use those skills in a coaching career when his playing days eventually end.
“I would like to go into coaching,” Umtiti said. “I think that it is a job that I will be able to enjoy after my footballing career.”