Messi praises Barcelona transfer target Lautaro Martinez

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has heaped praise on Inter striker and his Argentina international teammate Lautaro Martinez.

The front page of Friday’s edition of El Mundo Deportivo leads on the Catalan media outlet’s interview with the Blaugrana talisman.

“If I’m honest with you, I’m not sure if there were or are negotiations right now for him, I have no idea,” Messi is cited as saying by El Mundo Deportivo.

“I have said this before but Lautaro is an impressive striker, especially because I think he is very complete. He is strong, he dribbles very well, he can score goals and he knows how to protect the ball. We will see what’s going to happen with him.”

Thursday’s front page of El Mundo Deportivo claimed the striker would only want to join Barcelona if he leaves the Italian club and has no interest in Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.

A report in El Mundo Deportivo from February claimed that it was a ‘war’ between Barcelona and their El Clasico rivals Real Madrid for Martinez, who is said to be Barca’s primary transfer target this summer.

It had been thought that Barcelona had led the way in the race for the 22-year-old, whom they had identified as the long-term successor to the ageing Luis Suarez and who has a €111m release clause.

The Argentine international has netted 16 goals 31 appearances for the Milanese giants this campaign and has particularly impressed in European competition, scoring five in six outings in the Champions League.

Martinez’s current deal runs to June 2023 and was signed in July 2018, when Inter paid Racing Club a reported €22.7m for his services and he has swiftly established himself as a star in Italy.

Tags Lautaro Martinez