Former Inter midfielder Lothar Matthaus has said that Lautaro Martinez will be the key player for the Nerazzurri in the derby on Saturday evening, according to a report in the Italian print media.

Speaking during an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Lothar Matthaus discussed the run-up to the Derby della Madonnnina which kicks off at 18:00 local time at San Siro on Saturday. 

He talked about the prestige of the fixture and said that it is a unique derby in the way one stadium is always the host and the entire city is involved. 

“It’s matches like these that we love football for, I miss playing them. San Siro is unique in the derby because of this rivalry that lights up the city. The match against AC Milan is the most beautiful thing I bring from Italy, along with the one in Napoli against my friend Diego.”

He was asked who the key player will be for Inter and he admitted that he would have chosen Romelu Lukaku but the Belgian has got a thigh injury and will not be involved. Instead, he chose Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez.

“I would have said Lukaku. I was surprised to see him back in Milan after a year, but the atmosphere in London had become heavy: too much talk kills concentration. 

“Due to the injury, I say Lautaro: he knows how to strike, he can bother Milan, I like him because he sweats for every ball and without Romelu he already knows what to do. And never underestimate Dzeko’s pride.”

Many comparisons have been made between Nicolo Barella and the German former midfielder and he certainly has a lot of praise for the Italian.

“I think Jurgen [Klinsmann] is referring to style and position, to working for the team. I came to Milan when I was 27 and he’s 25 now that he’s in his fourth season.

“He has time to grow and if he does it the right way, as I did, he can become the best ever in his role. And for Mancini the basis for rebuilding.”

When asked how Inter can get at Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Lothar Matthaus said: “The defensive line is high, you can attack them from behind at speed like Borussia Monchengladbach’s Thuram did. You really need a Lukaku or maybe a Leao, the most dangerous Milan player in a derby that will be very open.”

He also discussed the struggles that Robin Gosens has had at Inter: “The problem is that Atalanta, with all due respect for the incredible journey they have made in recent years, is not Inter: he doesn’t make the same runs there. But it just needs time. And I didn’t really believe the rumours about Bayer Leverkusen.”