Inter captain Lautaro Martinez insists there are ‘no problems’ between him and Inter even if the Suning situation may slow contract talks down and reveals he hasn’t spoken to Romelu Lukaku since last summer.

The Nerazzurri captain visited La Gazzetta dello Sport’s newsroom with the Scudetto Cup on Monday, and he released a long interview about Inter’s title-winning campaign and his projects for the future.

Inter will change owners today if Steven Zhang fails to repay a debt of nearly €400m to Oaktree. Speaking about the club President, who has won seven titles at the club, Lautaro said: “He has always stayed close to us. Even if he wasn’t with us this season, sometimes a video call was enough to feel him close. He is a great president and we don’t know what will happen because it’s all above our heads. We are calm and we wait.”

Lautaro Martinez clarifies Inter extension claims

Lautaro said after a 1-1 draw against Lazio on Sunday that he wanted to reach an agreement over a contract extension this week.

“We are getting close, there are a couple of things missing. I said ‘this week’ because the season will end and because I want to fix everything before the Copa America,” he explained.

“I understand that the club situation may slow things down. We talk to Marotta and Ausilio, but it depends on the owners as well. We wait, I don’t know what will happen before next week, but there are no problems between us.”

Lautaro lifted the Scudetto trophy as the team’s captain for the first time. “It’s a joy for life,” he said.

“I simply consider Inter home. It’s what I’ve felt from day one and I have a solid bond with the city of Milan. There is a special atmosphere here; my children are growing up, and my wife owns a restaurant here. I feel the love from people and I owe everything to this club and the Inter fans who have been supporting me from the beginning. Only thanks to them, I’ve become the captain, an honour and a responsibility. To lift the cup of the second star with the captain armband is a dream that football has gifted me.

“I’ve spoken to Darmian, Acerbi, Dimarco, Bastoni, and Barella. I needed their help explaining Inter to new players and making sure everyone knew the path to follow.”

Lautaro is also this season’s Capocannoniere.

“It’s a joy in the joy. The numbers say that I improve every season because this is my mentality,” he noted.

“The group comes before the single player, but I’ve only finalised the work of the whole team.”

Tactically, what was the difference from his first seasons at Inter?

“This season, I’ve played as a centre forward and not as a support striker,” he said.

“I scored the most important goals in Turin against Juventus and in Florence after the Supercoppa when we had many injured players and we had been overtaken at the top of the table. At that moment, we sent a decisive signal. I’ve scored fewer goals from February, it’s true, but you have to see how many chances one creates and the good you produce for the team. I should improve in those moments too, but even when the ball doesn’t go in, I always help the team.”

Lautaro Martinez opens up about Lukaku and Thuram

The strike partnership with Marcus Thuram was probably the best in Serie A. Any difference between the Frenchman and Lukaku?

“I did great things with Romelu, one who, alone, brings away two opposing defenders, but I have more chances, more options and more space with Marcus,” said Lautaro.

“Thuram is a good guy, and he always brings a smile to the dressing room.”

What happened with Lukaku last summer?

“He didn’t reply [to a call] at that time and it ended there for both. We’ve all moved on.”

Regardless of the ownership’s situation, Lautaro sees a bright future for Inter.

“Inter spent many years without any trophy, but in the last four, we’ve always won something,” he said.

“The cycle must continue; Director Marotta is right when he says that we must raise the bar. I don’t choose the targets; I want them all, and the next step is the Champions League. In Istanbul, the dream was so close, and I’d like to play Atletico Madrid again.”

The only bad news for Lautaro this season came from penalty kicks…

“It’s not a tricky issue; only those who take penalty kicks miss them, and I am lucky to have a teammate like Calha. Against Torino, he wanted me to take it. I would have loved to end the goal drought, but he is the penalty kick taker, and he deserved that applause from San Siro. He has suffered in these years and now he’s an idol.”

Lautaro Martinez on the ‘difference’ between Conte and Inzaghi

The Nerazzurri captain praised coach Simone Inzaghi too.

“He leaves us free to train with happiness,” he said.

“We have fun, and not only because we win. He has grown with us in the technique, in the tactic and in the way he talks to the team. We have made a leap. He is a calm person, but he can get really angry. When we call him ‘demon’ as a joke, he turns towards us and smiles.”

Do players smile more than under Conte?

“Of course, but I owe so much to him too, because he has brought a winning mentality,” admitted Lautaro.

“The difference between them is that in football, you can reach the same target in a different way.”

Lastly, the Argentinean welcomed Inter’s new signing in attack, Iran international Medhi Taremi.

“We have faced him in many matches, he is a great striker, technically gifted and with a different way of playing. He’ll help us and I think he’ll be the new Arnautovic for his ability to hold the ball,” he concluded.

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