Lautaro Martinez has been nearly perfect for Inter Milan this season, but he has had one major blot on his copybook.
Today’s print edition of Rome-based newspaper Corriere dello Sport, via FCInterNews, note a penalty miss against Bologna in a Coppa Italia defeat as the one real blemish for the Nerazzurri captain.
Martinez came into this season with no shortage of momentum.
The 26-year-old became Inter’s captain during the summer. He took over the armband from Samir Handanovic as the Slovenian retired from football.
Far from this new pressure weighing Martinez down, the striker has seemingly found extra energy and motivation.
Martinez’s performances have always set the tone for how Inter player.
The Argentine’s endless running in both phases of play and his eagerness to link up with teammates, along with his leadership skills, are a big part of what marked him out as captain.
And Martinez has excelled in this respect.
Meanwhile, the 26-year-old has found the back of the net an eye-watering eighteen times in Serie A. Plus two more in the Champions League.
Just One Blot On The Copybook For Lautaro Martinez At Inter This Season
There was one major blemish, though. And it is one that is not altogether unfamiliar for Martinez.
The Inter captain is capable of scoring penalties.
Martinez did, after all, just score from the spot in Inter’s 5-1 Serie A win over Monza.
And the Argentine scored the decisive penalty for his country in a shootout with the Netherlands at the World Cup quarterfinal stage.
However, there is a reason why Martinez is not Inter’s first-choice penalty-taker.
Whilst Hakan Calhanoglu has, to date, a flawless record from the spot for the Nerazzurri, Martinez does certainly have a big miss in him.
Moreover, Martinez’s penalty misses tend to be ill-timed.
Last season, the Argentine failed to score from the spot in a match against Spezia which saw the Nerazzurri fall to a shock defeat, for example. A more clinical effort would likely have seen the match end differently.
And it was a similar story in Inter’s Coppa Italia round of sixteen clash with Bologna last month.
Inter had dominated that match in terms of creating chances. But they were unable to turn any of them into goals.
Therefore, a second half penalty looked like a lifeline.
Martinez was the man to step up and take the effort, with Calhanoglu not on the pitch.
The 26-year-old failed to score. And Inter went on to lose that match in extra time.
That’s just one major blemish on an otherwise outstanding season. But it does perhaps show that even players at their best can always have flaws.