Lautaro Martinez has revealed he spoke to Lionel Messi about joining Barcelona last summer, only for the move to collapse.
El Toro has enjoyed a fantastic third season with Inter, scoring a new personal best tally of 15 goals in Serie A en route to the scudetto.
However, Lautaro may never have become a champion with the Nerazzurri if Barcelona’s financial crisis hadn’t blocked a move for the striker 12 months ago.
Speaking to ESPN Argentina (via FcInterNews.it), the Inter striker admitted: “I was really close to signing for Barcelona, I’d spoken about it with Messi as well.
“Leo asked me what the situation was, nothing particular, but it would have been a great opportunity for me.
“In any case, the Blaugrana had economic problems at that moment so I decided to stay at Inter.
“It turned out to be the right decision as we’ve now won the scudetto.
“It’s incredible to win a title with such an important club.”
Lautaro also revealed he was wanted by Real Madrid before leaving Racing Club to join Inter in 2018.
“They came calling for me twice while I was in the academy, but I wanted to make a name for myself in Argentina,” the 23-year-old explained.
“I made the step to move to Europe when I was ready.”
Lautaro has formed one of Europe’s most prolific strike partnerships with Romelu Lukaku since Antonio Conte became Inter’s head coach.
Asked about his relationship with the Belgian, he said: “I love the way he plays.
“We understand each other brilliantly on the pitch and he’s also a fantastic person.”
Lautaro also spoke on the challenges of playing in Serie A and the possibility of returning to Racing Club, where he was previously teammates with Nerazzurri legend Diego Milito.
“I think Serie A is one of the most difficult leagues for a striker,” Lautaro argued.
“It’s a very tactical league, you do loads of work here in that sense and it’s very difficult when your opponents sit deep in their own area.
“You have to be quick and find the right space to strike, there’s very little time to think about what you’re going to do.
“I dream of returning to Racing Club one day, their fans are crazy and passionate just like Inter’s fans.
“I used to watch Milito a lot when we were teammates: his control of the ball, the accuracy of his shots on goal… I learned so much from him.”