Lionel Messi has incredibly been encouraged to leave Barcelona for Inter Milan this summer by Lautaro Martinez’s agent.
Barcelona have expressed an interest in signing Messi’s Argentina team-mate Martinez, which the player’s agent confirmed on Friday.
The 21-year-old striker enjoyed a solid first season on European football at Inter and carried over his strong form to the Copa America, where he helped Argentina claim a third-place finish.
Martinez’s strong displays in Brazil even earned him praise from his five-time Ballon d’Or winning team-mate Messi. Naturally, this only fueled the growing speculation over a potential Camp Nou reunion for the duo.
Although Antoine Griezmann’s €120m transfer from Atletico Madrid may put that out of the question. Furthermore, Neymar is still pushing for a Barcelona return after two years at Paris Saint-Germain.
But Martinez’s agent, Beto Yaque, insists the player has no plans on leaving Inter anyway.
“He can’t wait to start with [new Inter head coach Antonio] Conte,” Yaque told FC Inter News.
“Messi’s words? Being praised by the best in the world is beautiful and very satisfying.
“Lautaro was extremely happy. These words gave him contentment and the desire to work even harder to improve, learn new details and aim to achieve the goals he set himself one day.
“Lautaro only thinks about Inter. He is happy at Inter and dreams big. Conte called him to tell him how to work, that he relies on him and that he is very happy to have him on the team.
“It is true that there is interest on the part of the Blaugrana for Martinez. Nobody from the Catalan club has contacted us officially. They are rumours that somehow we know to be truthful. But I repeat: Lautaro remains in Milan.
“Let’s end it with a joke: if Messi wants to play with Martinez, then he goes to Inter. Let’s hope. It would be great for the Nerazzurri if that happened!”
Inter have confirmed they are pursuing deals for Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku and Edin Dzeko of AS Roma.
When asked how this may affect Martinez’s opportunities, Yaque replied: “I believe that there must always be healthy competition.
“Nowhere in the world does anyone have the place bought or insured. I know perfectly well that Inter can negotiate huge level strikers, but I believe blindly in Lautaro’s qualities and in what he can give.”
Mauro Icardi’s expected departure from Inter, though, will help ease Martinez’s worries over regular game time.