‘Messi to Inter is fantasy football’ – Marotta doubts Barcelona deal but wants Sanchez stay

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Renewed talk of Inter launching a raid for Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is “fantasy football”, says Nerazzurri director Giuseppe Marotta, with keeping Alexis Sanchez on board a more pressing concern for the Serie A giants.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has been linked with a move to San Siro on a regular basis down the years.

Speculation has always been brought to an end by the penning of fresh terms or public statements of commitment to the cause at Camp Nou.

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An exit door could, however, be edging open in 2020, with Messi reported to have shelved contract talks in Catalunya amid concerns regarding the direction in which Barca are heading on and off the field.

That is considered to have offered hope to Inter, with the Argentine’s father said to have bought a house close to Milan.

Marotta, though, continues to fend off the rumours, telling Sky Sport Italia: “It’s fantasy football.

“He certainly is not one of our objectives and I think he’s interested in continuing his football career in Barcelona.”

One player that Inter are eager to see on their books in the immediate future is Chile international Sanchez, who is approaching the end of an elongated loan from Manchester United.

No deal has been agreed to retain his services for the resumption of Europa League competition, or for next season, but Marotta is planning talks.

He added: “It’s an anomalous issue, considering the Europa League can be changed by the absence of certain players.

“The situation has not been resolved yet, we are working to at least keep hold of him for the entire Europa League.”

Inter still have two Serie A games left to take in this season, with the first seeing them face Genoa on Saturday, and Marotta hopes that a runner-up finish can be secured by the ambitious team.

He said: “Obviously, second place is important, but our analysis has to be about constant growth and the season is not yet over.

“What we’ve been able to see is that we’ve improved and therefore we want to continue that process. If we analyse our entire journey, we are happy.

“There are a few small regrets seeing what happened to those in front of us, but we have to be happy with what we’ve achieved.

“This is an anomalous campaign after the lockdown, so it becomes difficult to fully evaluate players and teams. We must prepare for the next season, which, as a consequence of this timing, will also not be easy.”

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