Samuel Umtiti 'world class' - ex-Lyon and Barcelona defender Eric Abidal

Former Lyon and Barcelona defender Eric Abidal has praised Samuel Umtiti amid rumours that the centre-back could follow in his footsteps by making a move to the Catalan club this summer.

Lyon defender Umtiti, 22, said on Sunday that he was flattered by interest from Tottenham but that he felt his game was better suited to La Liga.

He also said he had already spoken to Abidal, 36, about his fondness for Spanish football.

On Monday Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas hinted that Barcelona had shown an interest in the player, confirming that several English and Spanish clubs were tracking his progress.

Abidal moved from Lyon to Barcelona in 2007 and the former France international is a big admirer of Umtiti.

"He is world-class," Abidal told the Lyon website.

"That's why he's a starter at a club like OL. He has a lot of qualities.

"I really wish him the very best for the years to come. He's such an important player that it would be really tough for OL to let him go."

Following his move to Barcelona, Abidal won La Liga four times and the Champions League twice.

He returned to Monaco in 2013 before announcing his retirement in December 2014 following a brief spell at Greek club Olympiakos.