Lautaro Martinez underlined how Inter ‘are at the last step’ in their Champions League final against Manchester City.
The 25-year-old striker, who was a part of the Argentina squad that won the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, has grown into a talisman for the Nerazzurri and is expected to play a leading role in the final in Istanbul.
Lautaro has scored 28 goals and provided 11 assists in 56 games across all competitions this season and will be desperate to guide Inter to glory at the Ataturk Stadium. Standing in their way, however, is a Manchester City side on the cusp of winning the Treble.
Speaking in a press conference, Lautaro first discussed the similarities and differences between the Champions League final and the World Cup final.
“They’re the two most important finals a player can play, the only thing that changes is the shirt. The feelings are the same, unique, to go all the way.
“It’s thanks to the work done during the year, the squad is what counts, it’s the most important thing. We are at the last step, we will have to be ready for this game.”
He touched on the preparations for the final against Manchester City.
“We know that Manchester City are a very tough rival to face, because of the quality they have. But we’re ready, we’ve done our job and we’re as ready as we can be.”
The 25-year-old was asked if he’d spoken to compatriot Julian Alvarez recently.
“No, we haven’t spoken. I recently got married and I invited him to the wedding, he couldn’t come.”
He confirmed that this season has been the best of his life.
“Absolutely, we also achieved very important goals with Inter. I had the chance to play in a World Cup final six months ago and now I will play in a Champions League final.
“I am very happy with the present and the season, let’s crown it in the best possible way.”
Lautaro highlighted how he’s feeling fit and healthy ahead of the Champions League final.
“No, the truth is that the problem is gone, I had a very good season, at the World Cup I felt pain but I got treatment.
“For Argentina, I spoke with Scaloni and he rested me, given the season I’ve had. I had great treatment to play the World Cup, but now I’m fine.”
He touched on his leadership role in the squad.
“This match means a lot, both for me and for my teammates. It was a goal, we faced a tough group, it’s a credit to us that we passed the group and reached the final.
“I’ve learned a lot, I try to do it every day and then I feel so much responsibility. I’ve been at Inter for five years, tomorrow my teammates will also be ready for this very important match.”
The 25-year-old was asked if winning the final was an obsession or dream for him and the Inter squad.
“I don’t know whether to call it an obsession, we have so much hope, so much desire to bring the cup back to Milan, to Italy.
“Surely there are dreams, very big ones, very difficult to achieve, because we have struggled a lot to get here.”
The Argentine striker discussed the psychology ahead of the final.
“Certainly personality cannot be missing, it’s the first thing. The heart must always be there, the desire to win and lift trophies also.
“We brought back trophies that Milan had been missing for so long, today we have a chance to play for a trophy that has been missing for so long. I ask my teammates to play chest out and head up.”
Finally, Lautaro reflected on the Champions League winning work of Diego Milito, who played a crucial role in the team’s victory in 2010.
“I know what Milito did at this club, it’s a pride to be able to follow in his footsteps. I hope I can play a great game tomorrow, to help my teammates and do in a small way what he did.”