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‘Fantasy Football’: Antonio Conte dismisses Inter link with Lionel Messi

In an interview with Sky Sport Italia, Inter boss Antonio Conte has dismissed the recent speculation linking the club with a surprise move for Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.

Messi recently expressed his disappointment over the 2019/2020 La Liga campaign where the Blaugrana surrendered their title to Real Madrid in a disappointing fashion.

The Argentine has yet to renew his contract with the Catalan giants beyond June 2021 and this has led to the suggestion that the Nerazzurri could make an ambitious attempt to sign him on a free transfer next summer.

Following Inter’s 3-0 Serie A win over Genoa, Conte said that he is a huge admirer of the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, but emphasised that the talk of the club signing Messi is purely ‘fantasy football’.

“We’re talking about fantasy football, situations that at the moment cannot be linked to Inter. For many reasons. I don’t think there’s a madman in the world who wouldn’t want Messi,” He told.

“But that kind of situation really is very, very, very far from Inter, from what we are doing and what we are trying to build. However, I like the fact that when fantasy football is involved, the team that is linked to it is always Inter.”

Meanwhile, Nerazzurri chief executive Giuseppe Marotta also described the gossip as ‘fantasy football’ and said that the club don’t have any ambition of pursuing the 33-year-old.

Messi’s future has been a regular topic of discussion this month, but Blaugrana president Josep Bartomeu has previously indicated that the Argentine wants to see out his career with the club.

Inter recently returned to the second spot on the league table after a comfortable 3-0 win over Genoa on the road. Romelu Lukaku bagged a brace while Alexis Sanchez continued his fine form since the restart with a goal of his own.

The Nerazzurri have moved within four points of leaders Juventus with two games to play. However, the Bianconeri have a game in hand and they are still in pole position to lift the Scudetto for the ninth-straight campaign.

Things could have tighter, had the Nerazzurri won their previous two games against AS Roma and Fiorentina which ended in draws, and Conte will be hoping for a miracle in the final eight days of the season.

Maurizio Sarri’s side have not been overly impressive in the past four matches where they picked up only five points, but they have benefitted from the teams behind them squandering chances to win.

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