Inter striker Lautaro Martinez is hopeful that he can keep up the momentum from winning the World Cup with Argentina in the rest of the season at club level.
Speaking in a press conference, as reported by FCInterNews, the 25-year-old gave his reaction to returning from Qatar as a world champions, and looked ahead to the rest of the season with the Nerazzurri.
When the club season paused for the World Cup in Qatar, Martinez was just one of a significant number of players who will have been hoping to lift the trophy eventually.
However, the Argentine has come back to his club having won international football’s greatest prize, another significant milestone for a player who has also won the Serie A title and the Coppa Italia at the age of just 25.
“It’s a special feeling,” Martinez said of winning the World Cup, “I thought about all that I’ve done to get here, and how I always dreamed of winning it as a child, but I never imagined it would be like this.”
“This has been the most important moment of my career,” the 25-year-old went on, “it’s important to play for one’s country, for the fans.”
“Now, I have to focus on continuing winning, because it’s important to fight to win every trophy that one plays for.”
Asked if he still believes the Serie A title is a possibility, Martinez replied that “I believe everything is still on the table, we’re still in the first half of the season.”
Martinez added that “We’ve already dropped some damaging points in the league, but we have an important match awaiting us on Wednesday, and then there’s Parma in the Coppa Italia, another important match.”
“And then let’s not forget about the Supercoppa against Milan.”
Of his three most enduring memories from the World Cup, Martinez said “First of all, I have to say the defeat against Saudi Arabia, because it brought us closer together, we talked amongst ourselves and got back to work the way we always have these last three years under Scaloni.”
“Then the match against the Netherlands, who came back from 2-0 down to make the score and 2-2, and then a difficult extra time that we could have won before the shootout, then finally going through on penalties.”
“The third is obviously Montiel’s goal [the winning penalty in the shootout in the final against France].”
Of how he’s been changed by the experience of winning the World Cup, Martinez said that “It gives you more strength, we’re still in right in the middle of the season.”
“Sometimes you can grow mentally tired, but what we experienced against the Netherlands showed that even if you’re physically and mentally tired, you can always push to give more no matter what,” the Argentine refelcted.
“Even here at Inter we’ve overcome many difficult moments,” he went on, “and if I don’t score a goal I try to help the team in other ways.”
“Sometimes we don’t like to hear all the talk from outside the team, because people don’t understand what it’s like inside the team, before the World Cup I was playing with a knock in my ankle.”
Martinez said that “I wasn’t in the condition that I wanted to be in when I arrived in Qatar, and the coach and the doctors knew it, but I can always sleep at night because I know that I always train at my best.”
“Now I’m back,” he continued, “and after a little rest I’m back at my best, my ankle feels better, and if the coach gives me the chance to play then I’ll be ready.”
Of coming back to club football after a long midseason brake, Martinez said that “It’s difficult but as I said we celebrated, slept little, ate and drank.”
“Now I’m back here and my focus is only on Inter and Napoli, working with my teammates in training and taking the coach’s instructions to prepare for the match against Napoli in the best way possible,” he added.
Of the differences playing for Inter and Argentina, Martinez replied that “When I’m called up to the national team, I play with the best player in the world, he’s the star [referring to Messi] and we all try to support him.”
“At Inter, I have my role, I try to do the best I can, whether it’s with Correa, Dzeko, or Lukaku.”
Of returning to Serie A against the league leaders after a long break, Martinez said that “We’re wary of the quality that Napoli has, of how they can build up attacks from the back, so we’ll have to press well when we don’t have the ball.”
“We have to play the way that we know how to play, do well when we have the ball.”
“When I returned I’ve found that the team is in excellent condition physically, they told me how their preparations went in Malta,” he added, “we’re all excited and this coming match will be important for our future.”
Of what’s changed since he joined Inter in 2019, Martinez said that “I’ve learned a lot, I’ve improved a lot, with so many coaches and a lot of work I’ve grown into the player I am now.”