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‘He’s like Messi’ Martinez wary of dangerous Ronaldo threat

Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus
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Lautaro Martinez admits Inter Milan will have to stay on guard against Cristiano Ronaldo as the Juventus star can quickly change the tide of the game.

Ronaldo was on target the last time Juventus met Martinez’s Inter at the San Siro in April for his 600th club career goal. His clinical finish on the night cancelled out Radja Nainggolan’s opener to settle the Derby d’Italia at 1-1.

The Portuguese superstar later scored a free-kick during a pre-season friendly between the Italian giants in China.

And Martinez concedes that Inter will have to especially wary of Ronaldo, who poses a similar threat to his Argentina team-mate Lionel Messi, for Sunday’s latest Derby d’Italia at the San Siro.

“Juve have many important players, so it’ll be a difficult game like the one on Wednesday [against Barcelona in the Champions League],” the 22-year-old told reporters.

“We’ll try to recover physically so we face them at 100 per cent. After that, [Inter boss Antonio] Conte will pick his best XI.

“We know Cristiano Ronaldo’s quality. He’s like Messi but on Sunday, we’ll be facing many champions.

“We’ll try to do our best, knowing that he can shift the balance. We’re going game by game and, thanks to Conte and the players, we have a different mentality.

“We’re trying to give the best possible account of ourselves on the field, then we’ll see what happens.”

Martinez, who has bagged a goal and assist to help Inter win all six of the Serie A games, will likely line-up alongside summer signing Romelu Lukaku in the attack.

Putting the brakes on Ronaldo rather than pursuing many goals, though, will likely be Conte’s big aim on Sunday. With a two-point lead over Juventus, Inter have everything to lose for the match.

The 236th official Derby d’Italia begins at 20:45 (CET).

Lautaro Martinez, Lionel Messi, Inter Milan
BARCELONA, SPAIN – OCTOBER 02: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona dribbles Lautaro Martinez of Inter during the UEFA Champions League group F match between FC Barcelona and Inter at Camp Nou on October 02, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)