Inter hero Diego Milito discussed Inter striker Lautaro Martinez and the Nerazzurri’s season so far in an interview in today’s paper edition of the Milano based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.
First, he spoke about the 22-year-old Argentinian striker.
“Honestly, no I’m not shocked at the high level of his performances, why should I be? I was also convinced then that he would do everything he’s shown he could do.”
“And I’ll add, he has a lot of room for improvement, only he can set his limits. I heard what Conte said, I agree with him. It’s up to Lautaro to understand where he wants to go. But he can easily become a top player.”
He touched on Lautaro’s more difficult season last year.
“I don’t know if there were any problems with the past coach, I don’t think so. He probably just had to get used to a new league and new habits. Time is not the same for everyone, but I don’t think it took him too long.”
Milito suggested that whilst Lautaro might enjoy playing with Lionel Messi at Barcelona, he is still happy at Inter.
“The feeling with Leo is natural, you can see with the naked eye that they have a good relationship, great players are looking for each other. I don’t know how much truth there is in the interest from Barça, but it is natural that he may like them. But I know for a fact that Lautaro is very happy to be at Inter.”
The 40-year-old Argentine believed that Inter could challenge Juventus for the league title this season.
“Yes, I think there will be a duel with Juve until the end, Inter are able to compete with the Bianconeri, there are the right conditions. True, Juve have more experience at certain levels. But the enthusiasm that the excellent start has given Inter is enormous, the road is right.”
The former Inter striker thought that Inter had already learned valuable lessons this season.
“There’s always a lot of talk about the Treble in Kiev. But I say that the real turning point was in London with Chelsea. At that time, they were the strongest after Barcelona, Inter had a problem in the Champions League, for three years they did not exceed the round of 16. After beating Chelsea, we realised that we could win the tournament. I saw this Inter in Barcelona playing a great game. Well, I think that evening left the group aware that they could play “face to face”, on an equal footing with everyone. Of course, then you have to grow. And Dortmund teaches us that in Champions League you have to have the right maturity to close the games, opportunities cannot be wasted.”
He was unbothered that Antonio Conte used to coach Inter’s rivals Juventus.
“He’s a great coach, I have no doubt, he’s proving it. He’s up to the story of Inter. And we Interisti are happy when our team shows a proactive style of football and wins.”
Milito was impressed with the performances of Romelu Lukaku this season.
“He leaves me with a good impression, the numbers speak for him, he’s a great striker. There’s him, there’s Sanchez now injured. Inter up front are well covered.”
The Argentine was convinced that teenager Sebastiano Esposito could grow into a strong player for the Nerazzurri.
“I saw him play against Dortmund. You can tell he’s got something different, that guy. He made a great impression on me, he has a lot of quality. But he’s young, he’s only 17. Don’t worry, try to learn and enjoy the good fortune of being trained by Conte, perfect for growing up.”
He thought the Mauro Icardi situation was handled well.
“I say it ended well. Beyond the judgments that can be made from outside, the farewell was a success for all. For Mauro, who went to Paris and is doing very well. But also, for Inter, who replaced him in the right way.”
He was surprised by the strong start to the season from both Stefano Sensi and Nicolo Barella.
“I was surprised with Sensi, he didn’t feel the slightest issue jumping from Sassuolo to a big club. And he’s doing very well. Then Barella too…”
Milito hoped that Messi would join Cristiano Ronaldo in Italy.
“Seeing him in Italy is my dream, I hope it will come true. For me it’s the strongest in history.”
Finally, Milito made another suggestion for the Nerazzurri to explore.
“Difficult… But write down this name: Mati Zaracho, called up in the Argentine Under 23 squad, also in the first team selection. He’s a great guy.”