The Inter hitman made sure Leo’s absence against Mexico would not be keenly felt as he smashed three goals in the first half to engineer a simple win
The agent of Argentina’s hat-trick hero against Mexico Lautaro Martinez admits he would love to see his client line up alongside Lionel Messi at Barcelona.
Inter star Martinez broke into the national team at the start of 2018 under Jorge Sampaoli, but was overlooked for the Albiceleste’s ill-fated World Cup campaign that year.
It is under Sampaoli’s successor Lionel Scaloni that El Torito has really established himself at international level, scoring nine goals in his 13 caps to date to outscore the likes of Messi, Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala in the past 12 months.
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Messi and Martinez formed a promising partnership in this year’s Copa America, and Alberto Yaque could see the duo working at club level too.
« It would be great to see (Lautaro) alongside Leo at Barcelona, » the agent explained to TyC Sports following Martinez’s three-goal first-half haul in San Antonio, Texas, as Mexico were swept away in a 4-0 demolition despite the absence of Messi, suspended for the clash and also recovering from injury.
« It was great to see him play that way, so loose and happy. He has looked happy in the national team since he played for the youth divisions.
« He has brilliant control and timing, he shows it all the time. It is very hard for a defender to mark him. »
Martinez had to play second fiddle for much for his debut season in Serie A, as former Inter coach Luciano Spalletti’s rigid one-striker system left him on the bench behind ex-captain Mauro Icardi.
In 2019, however, the dispute between Icardi and Inter saw the striker left on the sidelines, and Lautaro finished the 2018-19 campaign with a respectable six goals from 13 Serie A starts.
He is now first choice under Antonio Conte in a promising double act with Romelu Lukaku, but Yanez insists that he remains the same modest kid he first met in the Buenos Aires province port city of Bahia Blanca.
« He is very humble. When I went to watch him in Bahia Blanca it was hard to take him (to Buenos Aires) because he was a very family-oriented boy, » he added.
« Before going to Inter I told him he wouldn’t struggle too much to adapt. Whatever he aims for, he achieves.
« It is not easy to walk into the San Siro and play as if it were your own back garden. »
Lautaro and Inter resume league action on Saturday, where they will be hoping for a third Serie A win in as many games this season at home to Udinese.
On Tuesday the Nerazzurri then open their Champions League campaign, also at home, against Czech champions Slavia Prague.