Antonio Conte reiterated his belief that rumours linking Lionel Messi to Inter are a little farfetched, hinting he struggled to even get the club to sign Romelu Lukaku.
Inter closed out a solid 2019-20 Serie A campaign on Saturday, beating Atalanta 2-0 in Bergamo to secure the runner-up spot in Italy’s top flight.
That result means they finished just a point adrift of champions Juventus, who lost 3-1 at home to Roma in their final league match.
Having already backed Conte significantly in the transfer market, Inter are expected to further strengthen ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.
One somewhat outlandish report in Italy has claimed Inter are trying to lure Barcelona icon and Ballon d’Or holder Messi away from La Liga, with his future a little uncertain due to turbulence at Camp Nou.
But Conte will remain realistic, particularly after Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta likened the rumour to a “utopian” fantasy.
“Look, only I know what I had to do to get Lukaku,” he joked to reporters after the match. “Trust me, at the end of the season we will make evaluations.”
Lukaku, a 2019 arrival from Manchester United, finished his maiden Serie A campaign as Inter’s top scorer, having netted 23 times, and Conte paid tribute to the Belgium striker along with his attacking colleagues Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez.
“He is strong, I was already looking for him at Chelsea but then he went to United,” Conte said of Lukaku. “He is an atypical footballer who can be a point of reference, but he can improve.
“Today, I also liked Lautaro and Sanchez. It is thanks to these guys if we scored 81 goals and if we finished second.”
Despite Inter’s strong finish to the Serie A season, Conte cut a frustrated figure at the end of the match and seemed to hit out at the club’s management for a lack of support.
The Nerazurri’s season isn’t yet over either with the club still alive in the Europa League and set to face off against Getafe in the Round of 16 next week.
Conte’s side beat Ludogrets 4-1 on aggregate in the Round of 32 after failing to make the knockout stages of the Champions League.