Barcelona, Dec 2 (IANS) Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has said he respected the decision of French defender Samuel Umtiti not to undergo surgery to fix his injured left knee, adding that he hoped the player could return to the field before the end of the year.
Barcelona announced that Umtiti would follow a conservative treatment plan in Qatar under the supervision of the Spanish club's doctors to heal the injury, which had prevented him from taking part in ten games, including six in La Liga, reports Efe news.
"He's an important player for everyone. He came with issues, and we're trying to help him recuperate. We're still hoping that he'll get well and help us this year," Valverde said at a press conference on Saturday night.
After two months of treatment, Umtiti played against Atletico Madrid a week ago but was dropped from the UEFA Champions League group stage clash against PSV Eindhoven.
"There are several parts here, but the fundamental thing is that the player has to be convinced, and has to think about what's best for him," the coach continued. "He has the final word, it's his leg, and what we've got to do together is to help him."
Valverde did not rule out the possibility of signing a central defender during the winter transfer window.
"We have to assess the team's situation. After (the transfer window) there'll be five months in which everything is at stake and we've got to have the team prepared," he explained.