The two powerhouses are set to square off on Saturday, with La Albiceleste barely scraping past the group stage. But they will have to face a star-studded France side boasting the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, N’Golo Kante and, of course, Umtiti.
The centre-back has developed a very friendly relationship with Argentina’s Lionel Messi, who is his teammate at Barcelona. The pair won Spain’s Primera division together last season, but the Frenchman is hoping to inflict some pain on his club colleague, who will be his rival until the end of Saturday’s showdown.
“I fulfilled several dreams when I arrived at Barcelona and one of those was playing with him [Messi],” the defender told reporters ahead of the clash (H/T Ole). “He is a nice person who always likes to win. Each goal, each play is for the team and that makes you feel. Messi cannot be compared with anyone.
“The truth is that I would prefer to have Messi as a teammate than to have to mark him. We are friends but not on Saturday. Would I like for my friend to lose? Well, on this occasion, yes.”
Umtiti also revealed that he hasn’t contacted the Argentinian since they landed in Russia.
“We have not texted or anything,” he added. I think it’s the best because now we must be focused on each team.”
Argentina came into the World Cup as one of the favourites, yet their performances during the group stage have left a lot to be desired. If they can overcome France on Saturday, however, they would stand every chance of finally handing Messi that elusive World Cup trophy he so desperately desire.