Sunday, January 29, 2023

Martinez focused on reigniting Inter´s Scudetto challenge after ´beautiful´ World Cup triumph

SoccerNews in Serie A 2 Jan 2023

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Lautaro Martinez is focused on reigniting Inter’s Scudetto charge after returning from his “beautiful” World Cup triumph with Argentina.

Martinez, who was struggling with an ankle injury, played six of Argentina’s seven games in Qatar as La Albiceleste claimed their third world crown – 36 years after their last – after a penalty shoot-out victory over France in a dramatic final.

While he did not score in regulation or even extra time at the tournament, Martinez did net the winning spot-kick in a feisty quarter-final against the Netherlands.

His focus has now switched to club matters. Inter are 11 points behind runaway leaders Napoli after 15 games ahead of facing the Partenopei when Serie A resumes on Wednesday.

It was not too long after World Cup glory that Martinez started mentally preparing for the blockbuster clash, and he hopes to inspire the Nerazzurri with his leadership qualities over the remainder of the campaign.

“Already on the return flight, the head was to Napoli and to the things that the coach will tell us to prepare this challenge in the best possible way, because it will be very important,” Martinez told reporters.

“I’ve been here for almost five years and I definitely feel important. I took responsibility in the locker room and I always try to help someone who needs a hand, even young players, because that’s how groups are created.”

When asked if Inter were still in the Scudetto race, he added: Yes, I believe in everything. The first part [of the season] is not even over yet – even if we have lost important points – and we know it.”

While Inter are Martinez’s immediate future, he also emphasised the importance of Argentina continuing to pursue further silverware, having also captured the Copa America title in 2021.

“I dreamed of that moment as a kid and didn’t think it could be so beautiful,” he added. “It was the most important step of my career, the maximum point to reach because you play for the people of your country.

“It was beautiful and exciting also for how we won it, but now we have to keep winning because that’s the mentality – to win all the competitions in which you play.”

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