Inter Milan captain Lautaro Martinez virtually had a fairytale night against Salernitana with his four goals in the second half.
Today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews, suggest that for the Argentine yesterday’s performance went beyond just football into something more special.
Martinez had less than 45 minutes in which to make an impact at the Stadio Arechi in Salerno yesterday.
But the 26-year-old took full advantage, and then some.
When the Inter captain took to the pitch, his team had been struggling to unlock the match.
The Granata were pushing the Nerazzurri, often going toe-to-toe and pressing high up the pitch.
Meanwhile, an Inter team that had enjoyed a high-tempo start to the match were starting to run out of gas. The setup that started the match was really starting to labour.
Halftime did not bring any boost in quality or energy for Inter.
So Nerazzurri coach Simone Inzaghi decided to act, making some substitutions early on in the second half.
Inter Captain Lautaro Martinez Enjoys “Magical Evening” Vs Salernitana
Inzaghi’s decision to throw on midfielders Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Kristjan Asllani certainly had an impact yesterday.
But it is the introduction of Martinez that grabbed the headlines.
The Argentine’s arrival on the pitch was not unlike that of Polish striker Robert Lewandowski in a match for Bayern Munich in 2015.
In that instance, then-Bayern coach Pep Guardiola decided to turn to Lewandowski in a match against Wolfsburg. The Bavarians were uncharacteristically flat in the first half, trailing 1-0 at the break.
Lewandowski legendarily scored five goals in just under ten minutes in that half.
And Martinez did not quite manage this. The Argentine needed 27 minutes in which to achieve his goalscoring feat, and managed a mere four compared to Lewandowski’s five.
But the feeling of Martinez’s performance was similar.
In that appearance for Bayern, Lewandowski seemed to be playing in some rarefied form.
Every touch and finish had been perfect for the Pole.
It was the same for Martinez at the Arechi yesterday.
The Inter captain seemed to condense months worth of highlight reel first touches and attacking runs into the space of a single half of football. And he also provided the finishes to match.
This was, for the Gazzetta, something that exceeded the realm of football.
There was magic in the Nerazzurri captain’s boots for a single evening at the Arechi.