Former Barcelona Target Lautaro Martinez Claims He Was Close to Joining LaLiga Giants from Inter Milan

Inter's Lautaro Martinez says he was ‘very close’ to joining Barcelona
Inter's Lautaro Martinez says he was ‘very close’ to joining Barcelona / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Inter star Lautaro Martinez has revealed he was close to joining Barcelona in 2020 and "even talked it over with [Lionel] Messi".

Lautaro was a top target for Barca, who passed up the chance to meet his reported €111million release clause last summer. The newly-crowned Serie A champion has admitted that he only decided to stay back at Inter due to the LaLiga giant's financial problems.

“I was truly very close to joining Barcelona and I even talked it over with Messi,” the 23-year-old told ESPN.

“However, the Blaugrana had economic problems at that moment, so I decided to stay at Inter. It proved to be the right decision, especially as we then won the Scudetto. It’s just incredible to win the title at such an important club.”

He future revealed that he had been targeted by Real Madrid while still at his former team, Racing Club. He said: "Real Madrid did come for me twice when I was in the Racing youth team, but I wanted to make my name in Argentinean football first and only made the move to Europe when I was ready.

“I do dream one day of returning to Racing. The fans are just as ‘crazy’ and passionate as the Inter ones.”

Lautaro has made 128 appearances across all competitions in his first three seasons at Inter, scoring 47 goals.