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Messi to Inter? You don't know what I had to do just to get Lukaku! – Conte

By Ryan Benson

Milan, August 2: Antonio Conte reiterated his belief that rumours linking Lionel Messi to Inter are a little farfetched, hinting he struggled to even get the club to sign Romelu Lukaku.

Inter closed out a solid 2019-20 Serie A campaign on Saturday (August 1), beating Atalanta 2-0 in Bergamo to secure the runner-up spot in Italy's top flight.

That result means they finished just a point adrift of champions Juventus, who lost 3-1 at home to Roma in their final league match.

Having already backed Conte significantly in the transfer market, Inter are expected to further strengthen ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

One somewhat outlandish report in Italy has claimed Inter are trying to lure Barcelona icon and Ballon d'Or holder Messi away from LaLiga, with his future a little uncertain due to turbulence at Camp Nou.

But Conte will remain realistic, particularly after Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta likened the rumour to a "utopian" fantasy.

"Look, only I know what I had to do to get Lukaku," he joked to reporters after the match.

"Trust me, at the end of the season we will make evaluations."

Lukaku, a 2019 arrival from Manchester United, finished his maiden Serie A campaign as Inter's top scorer, having netted 23 times, and Conte paid tribute to the Belgium striker along with his attacking colleagues Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez.

"He is strong, I was already looking for him at Chelsea but then he went to United," Conte said of Lukaku. "He is an atypical footballer who can be a point of reference, but he can improve.

"Today, I also liked Lautaro and Sanchez. It is thanks to these guys if we scored 81 goals and if we finished second."

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Story first published: Sunday, August 2, 2020, 4:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Aug 2, 2020
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