NBA

Messi wanted me at Barcelona, claims Inter star Martinez

By Sports Desk December 02, 2021

Lautaro Martinez claimed Lionel Messi previously attempted to convince the striker to leave Inter for Barcelona.

Messi has since ended a 21-year association with Barca as he joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer, while Martinez recently renewed fresh terms with the Serie A side until the end of the 2025-26 campaign.

The pair enjoyed success at the Copa America last July, collecting Argentina's first major trophy in 28 years as Messi starred with four goals.

But Martinez revealed the Blaugrana legend wanted to partner up with him at club level as well as he attempted to tee up a deal for the Inter man to join him at Camp Nou in 2020.

"We talked about it a lot in the national team, he asked me what the situation was like between me and Inter, but I always remained calm because we talked to the club to find an agreement to be happy here," Martinez told Sportmediaset.

"That's how it went and I'm happy to have stayed, I'm fine in Milan: I like my family."

Martinez, who signed from Racing Club in July 2018, was an integral part of Antonio Conte's title-winning team as he featured in every Serie A game for Inter.

The 24-year-old formed a dominant partnership last season with Romelu Lukaku, who left for former club Chelsea in August, but the Argentina international explained his strike partner's departure was a personal decision.

"Did he regret Chelsea? I don't know, he made a personal choice," Martinez added on Lukaku.

"He was happy at Inter, we talked often but if he chose to leave it was obviously because he felt like it. We are the ones who now work to give Inter the best."

Martinez, who netted 17 times last term, thrived under the now Tottenham head coach as Inter ended a 10-year wait for the Scudetto, but he revealed he is also enjoying life under new boss Simone Inzaghi.

"He's helping me so much," he told Inter's official website when asked about Inzaghi.

"We met when I came back from the Copa America and before that point, we'd already spoken quite a lot on the phone. He's helped me so much with my performances. 

"I always try to learn as much as I can from coaches because they have a wealth of experience and they always try to do the best for their players."

Related items

  • Juventus must take 'one step at a time' to revive fortunes, says Allegri Juventus must take 'one step at a time' to revive fortunes, says Allegri

    Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri says his side must take matters "one step at a time" after breaking a month-long winless streak against Bologna on Sunday.

    The Bianconeri ran out 3-0 winners at the Allianz Stadium, clinching their first victory in all competitions since the end of August thanks to goals from Filip Kostic, Dusan Vlahovic and Arkadiusz Milik. 

    The result arrested Juventus' slide into mid-table mediocrity in Serie A, although they remain four points adrift of the top four and seven shy of early-season leaders Napoli.

    The difficulty of the challenge facing Juve is not lost on Allegri, who says his team need to avoid getting ahead of themselves in the coming weeks.

    "We need to take it one step at a time, and hopefully, we can close the gap," he told DAZN. "We closed it last season, so [we know] we can do it again.

    "We needed patience and focus to build the performance and get the result. I almost felt like we couldn't believe it when we got back to the locker room.

    "It needs to be one small step at a time. We can't make up that difference all in one go. At this moment, we need clear and cool heads."

    Kostic netted his first goal in club colours to round off a superb run from Vlahovic, who arguably delivered his best performance of the season in Turin.

    Kostic said he would look to repay the favour by teeing up his fellow Serbia international in the future, stating: "I do a good job with Dusan, I thanked him for the assist and I hope I can give one back next time."

     

  • Lewandowski salutes Barcelona teenage rampagers as mature beyond their years Lewandowski salutes Barcelona teenage rampagers as mature beyond their years

    Robert Lewandowski has been blown away by Barcelona's flood of teenage talent and believes there is no better place for young footballers to blossom.

    The 34-year-old Poland captain was brought in from Bayern Munich to provide a quick fix and give Barcelona a reliable goalscorer in the short term.

    But there is long-term vision at Barcelona too, with the likes of Pedri, Gavi, Ansu Fati and Alejandro Balde all emerging as first-team players while still in their teens.

    Pedri arrived from Las Palmas in 2020 and was quickly assimilated into the senior set-up, bypassing the system at La Masia, the Barcelona academy, because he was considered so advanced already.

    Most have come through years of training in the academy system, however, which is churning out top-class footballers at a rapid rate.

    Lewandowski counts on such players as team-mates now, and says their style of play, having been training to follow Barcelona principles, is "noticeably distinct" to other youngsters in the game.

    "I'm impressed by the fact of how at that age one could be so mature in football," Lewandowski said, speaking to Polish online sport channel Kanal Sportowy.

    "I don't mean mature mentally. I meant if they thought differently about football. I wouldn't even compare it, if there are any differences there.

    "A man can't change his age. People abroad who are 18 years old can't think as it they were 26. People here live and grow in the same way. However, thanks to these academies it's much easier for them.

    "Being well trained at the age of 18 and really talented, they may reach a higher level. Additionally, they're really familiar with the world of football which Polish players miss."

    Lewandowski opened up on a host of themes in the interview, and said he intended to stay involved in sport once his playing days are over.

    He might find a coaching role one day, and his experiences in Barcelona should stand him in good stead.

    "It's the best possibility for a young player, to be able to observe experienced football players in order to become one of them in the future," said Lewandowski.

    Such players also point to a bright future for the Spain national team, with the emergence of a possible new golden generation.

    At first-team level, Barcelona are attempting to knock Real Madrid off their perch.

    Madrid won last season's LaLiga title and added the Champions League to boot, while Xavi's mid-season arrival began to turn around a Barcelona team who made a rocky start under former head coach Ronald Koeman.

    Xavi's Barcelona are level on 19 points with Madrid through the first seven rounds of this campaign, and the two current co-leaders will face off at the Santiago Bernabeu on October 16 in the season's first Clasico.

    Lewandowski hit the only goal at Real Mallorca on Saturday, with a hard-fought 1-0 win showing Barcelona have tenacity to complement their more obvious flair.

    The close-season recruit said he was "positively astonished" with how intense his early training experiences had been at Barcelona, after last season's "tough" experience for the club.

    Lewandowski is confident Xavi has a firm grip on what needs to be done to turn Barcelona into trophy winners again.

    "He's aware of what went wrong in the last season, in contrary to what he dreamed of, and I see that he wants to make it better," Lewandowski said.

    "Mentally they were really focused, but their bodies couldn't manage. I think that with every week and every match, we'll be growing, and I strongly believe that with time it'll get better."

  • Real Madrid 1-1 Osasuna: Benzema misses late penalty as champions lose perfect record Real Madrid 1-1 Osasuna: Benzema misses late penalty as champions lose perfect record

    Real Madrid saw their perfect start in LaLiga halted by 10-man Osasuna on Sunday, as Karim Benzema missed a late penalty on his return from injury in a dramatic 1-1 draw.

    Injuries to Luka Modric and Thibaut Courtois left Madrid depleted at the Santiago Bernabeu, but they took the lead in fortunate fashion when Vinicius Junior's cross beat Sergio Herrera.

    Courtois' replacement Andriy Lunin was caught out by Kike Garcia's header as Osasuna equalised shortly after half-time, but the hosts were awarded a penalty when David Garcia pushed Benzema, earning himself a red card.

    However, Benzema hammered his spot-kick against the crossbar as Osasuna clung on, ending Madrid's 100 per cent record in LaLiga this season.

    Osasuna gave as good as they got during a frantic opening, twice going close through tricky winger Abde Ezzalzouli on the break.

    Benzema almost opened the scoring in spectacular fashion from Vinicius' cross after 37 minutes, clipping the left-hand post with an acrobatic volley, but Madrid did not have to wait long for their opener.

    Vinicius' in-swinging cross evaded Benzema before nestling in the bottom-right corner after 41 minutes, with a VAR review awarding the goal after ruling Benzema was not interfering with play from an offside position.

    Osasuna needed just five minutes to level after the break, however, as Kike's glancing header looped beyond Lunin to find the top-left corner, stunning the Bernabeu into silence.

    Just as Madrid appeared to be running out of ideas, Garcia's clumsy foul on Benzema saw the defender dismissed and handed the France striker the chance to win the match with 11 minutes left.

    However, the Ballon d'Or favourite stuck the bar with a poor effort before heading Rodrygo Goes' stoppage-time cross wide as Osasuna held on.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.