SERIE A

Inter-Messi rumours are "crazy" and Lautaro won't join Barcelona - says Inter sporting director

Inter Milan sporting director Piero Ausilio has said the club has no plans to sign Lionel Messi, adding that Lautaro Martinez is not for sale and will not join Barcelona.

nter-Messi rumours are "crazy" and Lautaro won't join Barcelona - says Inter sporting director
PAU BARRENA AFP

Inter Milan sporting director Piero Ausilio has dispelled speculation that the Serie A club is one of the frontrunners to sign Barcelona wantaway Lionel Messi, calling such rumours "crazy".

Inter had been identified as one of the three main candidates, along with PSG and Manchester City, to land the Argentine striker, who looks set to leave Camp Nou following his demands that Barcelona allow him to leave immediately.

But Ausilio has told Sky Sports Italia that Inter have no plans to sign Messi, bringing a likely end to hopes of the 33-year-old rekindling his rivalry with former Real Madrid foe Cristiano Ronaldo in Italy, where the latter has been playing with Juventus for the past two seasons.

“We’re not going to sign Leo Messi. I don’t even know where these crazy rumours are coming from," Ausilio told Sky (via Italian journalist, Fabrizio Romano).

Ausilio’s comments come amid speculative reports from the UK that Messi has accepted an offer worth €700 million from City Football Group, which would see him play three years at Man City and then the final two years at New York City, both of which are owned by the Abu Dhabi-based group.

Inter interested in Arturo Vidal

Although one Barcelona player Inter Milan will consider buying is Arturo Vidal, who, like Messi, is tipped to for the Camp Nou exit door, albeit for very different reasons. The Chilean midfielder has failed to make his mark since joining Barcelona in 2018, with the club likely willing to let him go under new coach Ronald Koeman’s squad overhaul.

“We like Arturo Vidal for sure. But he’s a Barcelona player right now. If they’ll let him go at right conditions, we’ll consider to sign him,” said the Inter director.

Chances of Lautaro-Barcelona move are “over” – Auselio

Some Barcelona fans may have seen the possible signing of Messi’s Argentina strike partner, Inter forward Lautaro Martinez, as somewhat of a consolation for losing their beloved captain and the club’s greatest ever player.

But any hopes those fans have held about landing Lautaro, who has long been linked with a switch to Camp Nou, have been dashed by Ausilio, who told Sky: "We never started official talks with Barcelona for Lautaro Martinez. The day after the release clause expired we considered him out of the market. It’s over.”

Before Ausilio’s comments, there had been reports that a move to Barcelona had become less appealing to Lautaro with the prospect of Messi no longer being at the club.

And now the 23-year-old forward is reportedly set to renew his deal with Inter, where he has formed a formidable strike partnership with Romelu Lukakau that was instrumental to the Serie A’s side Europe League title success last season.