Lautaro Martinez has revealed he was on the verge of joining Barcelona last summer, though he says has no regrets about remaining at Inter.
Barça made no secret of their desire to bring the Argentine forward to Camp Nou little less than a year ago, though their interest was cooled by Martinez’s whopping €111m (£96.5m) release clause.
The 23-year-old notched the first piece of silverware of his career recently as Antonio Conte’s side were crowned Serie A champions for the first time since 2010, and he’s revealed he has no regrets over the failed move despite the fact he looked destined to be heading for Barcelona.
“I was truly very close to joining Barcelona and I even talked it over with Messi,” he told ESPN Argentina (via Football Italia).
“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.”
Martinez first started to draw the attention of some of Europe’s big hitters during his time at Argentine outfit Racing Club.
The forward revealed Barcelona’s domestic rivals Real Madrid also lodged their interest in him during his time at Racing and that he dreams of returning to his old club.
“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,” he added.
“I do dream one day of returning to Racing. The fans are just as crazy and passionate as the Inter ones.”
Martinez has formed a lethal partnership with Belgium international Romelu Lukaku since the former Manchester United man’s move to Serie A in 2019, and their combined total of 36 league goals so far this campaign have been crucial to Inter’s successful charge towards the Scudetto.