Former Inter defender Giuseppe Bergomi lauded the leadership of striker Lautaro Martinez and felt that he had matured since taken on greater responsibility at the club.

In an interview published in today’s magazine edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Sportweek, Bergomi argued that the Argentina international always gave everything on the pitch and this resonated with fans, whilst he had emerged as a pivotal figure in coach Simone Inzaghi’s squad.

‘Lautaro is someone who never spares himself on the pitch, and that’s what the fans ask for and want. Lautaro seems to me a very serious and genuine guy,” Bergomi declared.

“He has become the technical and emotional leader of the team. He seems to me to be a mature player now. He doesn’t smile much, but neither did I. But you can see that he has a positive attitude, which is recognised by people and, more importantly, by his teammates.”

“For me, a leader is the one who has the ability to attract people to him, and Lautaro has that ability. On the pitch he sets an example: if he must track back he does so, with Dzeko he plays one way and with Lukaku another, demonstrating the ability to adapt and, therefore, humility. In the past he used to get upset when he didn’t score for a long period. Today, however, he is always involved in the game.

“I don’t know if this is from becoming a world champion with Argentina, or the awareness, acquired after five years at Inter, of what it means to wear this shirt, or from fatherhood.

I have seen that Augustina, his partner, is expecting their second child: having the right woman next to you, the one who gives you serenity and with whom you build a family and life project, gives charge and confidence to the man and the footballer,” Bergomi continued,

“We are often in too much of a hurry to judge a footballer, and instead he should be given time. A striker sometimes ‘arrives’ later, but when he reaches a certain level of performance, he maintains it over time. To stay at Inter, look at Dzeko, who at 37 continues to be decisive. The difference between a good player and a champion is the continuity of performance, and Lautaro at the moment is showing that.”

Bergomi was keen to stress that there was a difference between being a leader and being the loudest member of the team though, or the most talented.

“Although nowadays, even in areas other than football, people confuse leadership with the propensity to talk big and to have no problem criticising others. Before that, people think that talent is enough to be a leader. Instead, talent should never be divorced from education.”

The ex-Italy international spent his entire career at Inter, amassing 754 appearances from 1980 until 1999, and revealed the most influential leaders that he played alongside during his time with the Nerazzurri.

“Zenga, Ferri, Matthaus, Berti for his behaviour. Matthaus, for example, was a leader because before the match he would say: ‘Today we will win and I will score goals’ and it went exactly as he predicted.

“Zenga was an innovator from a technical point of view. For me he was the best goalkeeper ever, he revolutionised the role. Walter had an innate charisma, for the way he stood in goal and for his attitudes, which to some could even seem brazen.

“We came from the days of Zoff, the measured man, and moved on to Zenga who interpreted the role in the opposite way, with a very flamboyant stage presence.

“Someone who resembles him today is Mike Maignan at AC Milan: have you ever seen a goalkeeper who suggests to his teammates how to position themselves and take an attacking free kick? Besides, Walter was the first to go on TV, to do adverts.”

Bergomi captained Inter from 1990 until his retirement and felt that his attitude made him a good leader.

“I was captain, but in my Inter team there were many leaders. As far as I’m concerned, I was what you call a silent leader.

“Today I give interviews, go on television, give training speeches in companies, but when I played I spoke little.

“My way of ‘leading’ others was to be an example for the younger ones, for the foreigners who were entering the Inter world and had to understand what it meant to wear this jersey. I was a leader because I would enter training first and leave last,” he concluded.