SAMUEL UMTITI received a hero's welcome from Lecce fans upon his arrival in Italy on Thursday.
The defender, 28, joined the newly-promoted Serie A side on a season-long loan from Barcelona this week.
And as he touched down in Salento he was mobbed by a large crowd of thrilled Lecce supporters who proceeded to greet him with a chant.
It was clearly a moving moment for Umtiti as the Frenchman struggled to hold back the tears as he was being interviewed by media.
He is eager to get his career back on track after spending the majority of his Barcelona spell on the sidelines.
Umtiti, who joined the Catalan giants in 2016, was limited to just one appearance last season due to various injuries including a broken toe and numerous knee issues.
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Barcelona officials were eager to move him on in a bid to make way for summer signing Jules Kounde, who joined from Sevilla in a £46million transfer last month.
Umtiti had been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal at the beginning of the year, but an injury prevented the deal from being completed.
He was also in talks with Olympiacos and Rennes over a potential transfer before agreeing to join Lecce earlier this week.
The Italian side have endured a tough start to life in Serie A.
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They sit 19th in the table after suffering two consecutive defeats to Sassuolo and Inter Milan respectively.
But manager Marco Baroni believes Umtiti will help provide some much needed experience for the squad.
And the defender is hoping to revive his career and reclaim his spot in the French national team.
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