Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Samuel Umtiti’s face said it all. 

As Barcelona celebrated their 3-0 victory over Juventus in the annual Joan Gamper Trophy – the Catalans will take any piece of silverware they can get their hands on in the post-Lionel Messi era – their World Cup-winning centre-half sat on the sidelines, arms crossed, eyes glaring, face like a Fort Worth thunderstorm. 

But who could blame him? 

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Umtiti had just spent most of the afternoon being booed by his own supporters, many of whom blame him for the heart-wrenching departure of their club’s favourite son.  

It’s not Umtiti’s fault Barcelona find themselves more than a billion in debt and without Lionel Messi, of course.

It wasn’t he who splurged a combined £380 million on Philippe Coutinho, Neto, Francisco Trincao, Ousmane Dembele, Paulinho and Malcom. 

But, with Barca’s self-inflicted malaise costing them the chance to retain Messi’s services, Umtiti has become an unfortunate lightning rod in Catalonia.

Many, it seems, blame the Frenchman for worsening an already dire situation after the injury-prone centre-back refused to cancel his £135,000-a-week contract. 

Umtiti isn’t alone in that either, as an already tense atmosphere threatens to turn toxic.

To the obvious astonishment of his Barca teammates, Bosnia international Miralem Pjanic also found himself in the eye of the storm, jeered throughout by a furious fanbase. 

Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Will Barca still get rid of Tottenham target Miralem Pjanic and Umtiti?

He, too, has rebuffed the club’s attempts to terminate a contract he signed just last summer when arriving from Juventus for a cool £55 million (Goal).

“Both have very important careers but didn’t get much playing time last season,” Barca director Mateu Alemany said recently.   

“We know the situation and are evaluating the possibility of finding (Pjanic and Umtiti) another club.” 

Despite apparent interest from Tottenham Hotspur in Pjanic and claims suggesting Umtiti has admirers at Arsenal and Liverpool, both are clinging on to their Camp Nou careers in the face of rising – and unjustified – criticism from supporters.

Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

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