Inter Milan have no plans to try and sign Lionel Messi nor the financial means to engineer a deal for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, a club official said Tuesday.
“I don’t know where some ideas can come from,” Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio told Sky Sport Italia. The Serie A runners-up have been linked with a move for Messi along with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain if he leaves Barcelona.
“No coach, no president wouldn’t want Messi in their team. But the reality is very different,” he added, as the Italian transfer window officially opened on Tuesday.
“Our reality is a sensible transfer market.”
Ausilio also said the club was in negotiations with Roma to sign Serbian defender Aleksandar Kolarov while insisting Lautaro Martinez will stay put despite longstanding interest from Barcelona.
Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez both scored twice as Inter Milan stormed into a first European final in 10 years with a 5-0 thrashing of Shakhtar Donetsk in Dusseldorf.
Danilo D’Ambrosio was also on target for Antonio Conte’s men, who will face Sevilla in Friday’s final in Cologne.
The Italian giants have endured a lean decade since winning the Champions League in 2010, but closed the gap on Juventus at the top of Serie A to just one point in Conte’s first season in charge and are now one win away from a first trophy in nine years.
Martinez and Lukaku’s prolific partnership has been the source of much of Inter’s success and they took their tally to a combined 54 for the season.
After a slow start, Martinez rose highest to power home Nicolo Barella’s cross to open the scoring on 19 minutes.
Shakhtar are one of European football’s great survivors as the Ukrainian champions continue to thrive despite not playing a match in their home city of Donetsk for six years due to a war in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed separatists.
Luis Castro’s men had scored 14 goals in five Europa League games since dropping into the competition form the Champions League, but their talented array of Brazilian forwards barely laid a glove on a characteristically well-organised Conte defence.
At the other end, Martinez was always lively and only a brilliant save from 36-year-old Andriy Pyatov denied him a classy second as he won the ball 30 yards from goal and immediately lobbed the ball goalwards early in the second half.
Shakhtar had one golden chance to level when Mykola Matviyenko’s cross picked out Junior Moraes, but the Brazilian-born Ukrainian international’s header was too close to Samir Handanovic.
Two minutes later, Inter landed the killer blow when D’Ambrosio met Marcelo Brozovic’s corner with a powerful header.
Lukaku extended his run of scoring in now 10 straight Europa League games, but the Belgian was made to wait as Pyatov got down well to save his first big sight of goal.
Martinez showed the way with by finding the bottom corner with a brilliant quick hit that gave Pyatov no time to set himself after Shakhtar were caught in possession inside their own half for his 21st goal of the season.
Lukaku then got in on the act 12 minutes from time as this time Martinez played provider before his strike partner slotted low into the far corner.
Five minutes later the former Manchester United striker had his 33rd goal of the campaign by accelerating away from a slow Shakhtar backline before firing through Pyatov’s legs.
Romelu Lukaku scored as Inter Milan defeated Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 in Monday’s Europa League quarter-final in Dusseldorf, becoming the first team through to the last four of a mini-tournament behind closed doors in Germany.
Three-time former winners Inter struck first through Nicolo Barella as he guided in from the edge of the area on 15 minutes, with Lukaku bundling in a second six minutes later.
Kai Havertz reduced the deficit in possibly his final game for Leverkusen with a well-worked goal on 25 minutes after exchanging passes with fellow Germany international Kevin Volland, but Inter held on to seal their place in the semi-finals.
Antonio Conte’s side will take on Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk or Swiss club Basel next Monday in Dusseldorf for a place in the final on August 21.
Manchester United edged LASK 2-1 and Inter Milan beat Getafe 2-0 on Wednesday in rescheduled ties due to the coronavirus pandemic to clinch places in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
United had a 5-0 lead from their first leg played in March and will face Copenhagen who enjoyed a 3-0 victory on the night over Istanbul Basaksehir.
Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan will face either Steven Gerrard’s Rangers or Bayer Leverkusen with the Germans holding a 3-1 lead going into Thursday’s match.
Romelu Lukaku and Christian Eriksen scored either side of the break for the Italians.
“It was a difficult match against a team that plays aggressively, but we did well, the defense did a good job and I’m happy to score for the team,” Lukaku told Sky Sport Italia.
“Christian also got an important goal for the side and we must continue like this.”
Despite United’s comfortable lead from March 12’s first leg the visitors caused problems early on.
Andres Andrade hit the crossbar with a powerful header after 10 minutes at an almost empty Old Trafford before Peter Michorl fired wide just after the quarter of an hour mark.
The Linz-based outfit had to wait until the second half to break the deadlock as defender Philipp Wiesinger rifled into the top corner from outside the box after 55 minutes.
Their celebrations were shortlived as Jesse Lingard equalised on the counter-attack for United three minutes later.
Anthony Martial claimed the match-winner with two minutes to go despite LASK goalkeeper Alexander Schlager getting afoot to the France striker’s shot.
Inter’s meeting with the La Liga side was played over just one leg in Gelsenkirchen to save time ahead of next week’s last eight to be held in Germany.
They advanced to the next round as Romelu Lukaku became the club’s first player to score in five straight European appearances since Brazilian striker Adriano in 2004.
Lukaku slotted home after Alessandro Bastoni’s long ball after 33 minutes.
The Spaniards were given a chance to take the game to penalties with 25 minutes remaining as VAR said Diego Godin had handballed in his own box but veteran cente-forward Jorge Molina missed the resulting penalty.
Christian Eriksen made sure of Inter’s spot after 84 minutes with his first touch after Dakonam Djene made a mess of a clearance inside his own area.
Elsewhere, 2009 champions Shakhtar Donetsk booked a last eight spot against Basel or Eintracht Frankfurt after three goals within the closing four minutes clinched a 3-0 win over Wolfsburg.
On Thursday Rangers head to Leverkusen, Wolves host Olympiakos, and Sevilla face Roma in Duisburg.
Inter Milan put one foot in next season’s Champions League on Monday after coming from behind to beat relegation-threatened Torino 3-1 and move up to second place in Serie A.
Antonio Conte’s Inter moved above Atalanta and Lazio to go eight points behind league leaders Juventus thanks to two goals early in the second half from Ashley Young and Diego Godin and another from Lautaro Martinez just after the hour mark.
The Milanese club are level on 68 points with off-form Lazio, who slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Sassuolo on Saturday, and one ahead of flamboyant Atalanta in fourth.
However, with a first league title since 2010 unlikely, the most important statistic for Inter is the 14-point gap between them and fifth-placed Roma with six matches left to play.
“It’s important to win matches like this any way you can … I think we deserved to win,” said Godin to Sky Sport Italy.
“We’re second now and we want to continue winning … let’s see where we can finish, but it’s difficult to get closer to Juventus.”
Torino meanwhile still have to look over their shoulders following their fourth defeat since the league restarted last month.
Moreno Longo’s side are 16th, five points above the relegation zone with the visit of fellow strugglers Genoa coming up on Thursday.
Inter, who were missing star striker Romelu Lukaku and started without regular first-teamers Milan Skriniar, Christian Eriksen and Antonio Candreva, didn’t have it all their own way at the San Siro.
They found themselves behind with 16 minutes gone when under no pressure Samir Handanovic dropped a corner straight to the feet of Italy forward Andrea Belotti, who couldn’t believe his luck as he tapped home the opener from inches out.
The hosts, who have been rocked by rumours of dressing room unrest, struggled to react and Christian Ansaldi could easily have doubled Torino’s lead when Handanovic just managed to hold onto his powerful shot five minutes before the break.
All their good work vanished in the space of two minutes shortly after the restart however, with Ashley Young levelling the scores in the 49th minute when he lashed home Martinez’s knockdown.
Young was involved when Inter went ahead just two minutes later, the Englishman finding former Manchester United teammate Alexis Sanchez with a chipped pass and the Chilean heading over for Godin, who nodded home off the crossbar from close range.
Torino had a chance to level when Simone Verdi’s header was well saved by Handanovic in the 54th minute, but Martinez — whose talks with Barcelona have stopped according to Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu — wrapped things up soon after.
The Argentine hadn’t scored in five matches heading into Monday’s contest and after collecting Sanchez’s pass his shot was helped over the line by a big deflection.
Inter Milan blew a goal and a man advantage to lose 2-1 at home to Bologna on Sunday and saw their Serie A title challenge all but ended in dramatic fashion.
Antonio Conte’s men needed a win to move back to within eight points of leaders Juventus, and one of second-placed Lazio, but despite leading through Romelu Lukaku’s 20th league goal of the campaign and playing against 10 men, contrived to collapse to defeat.
Juventus sit seven points clear at the top after beating Torino in the Turin derby on Saturday, when second-placed Lazio were thumped by AC Milan.
Inter are now 11 points off the pace with only eight matches of the season remaining.
The third-placed hosts forged ahead midway through the first half as Lautaro Martinez headed Ashley Young’s left-wing cross against the post, but Lukaku was on hand to tap in.
It was the Belgian’s 20th league goal since joining Inter from Manchester United last year and his 26th in all competitions.
Mid-table Bologna always carried a threat, though, and Riccardo Orsolini twice went close to equalising before half-time.
But Inter were gifted a golden opportunity to take total control 12 minutes into the second half when Bologna midfielder Roberto Soriano was sent off for dissent.
A crucial three points appeared almost certain when Martinez stepped up to take a 61st-minute penalty, but the Argentinian striker saw his effort saved by visiting goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski.
That was the cue for Inter, chasing a first league title since winning the treble under Jose Mourinho in 2010, to collapse in the closing stages.
Musa Juwara, on as a substitute, fired home a 74th-minute leveller through the weak attempted save by Inter stopper Samir Handanovic, before the home side also saw their numerical advantage disappear shortly afterwards as Alessandro Bastoni was dismissed for a second yellow card.
The comeback was completed with 10 minutes left, as Gambian striker Musa Barrow finished off a sweeping Bologna counter-attack with a fine left-footed shot past Handanovic.
Inter piled on the pressure during six minutes of injury time, but failed to rescue even a point, with Alexis Sanchez denied by Skorupski.
Bologna moved up to ninth, five points off the Europa League places.
Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan will stage a new competition called the ‘European Solidarity Cup’ in 2021 to raise money for medical facilities in Italy and Spain.
The three clubs will play each other in a round-robin group, with Inter against Bayern held in Milan, Real facing Inter in Madrid and Bayern hosting Real in Munich.
Proceeds from the fixtures will be donated to medical facilities in Italy and Spain, two of the world’s worst-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic.
The aim is “to send out a message of solidarity and fraternity to the people of Europe”, said a statement from Real Madrid.
Dates for the tournament have not been decided. The timing will “depend on the match calendar and when football can be played in front of fans again”, the clubs said.
Bayern will invite 5,000 nurses, carers and doctors to the Allianz Arena for their match against Real Madrid.
“Nurses, carers and doctors, in particular, are doing an outstanding job for society at the moment,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “We, the three clubs, want to show these heroes our appreciation, respect and gratitude.”
“The great commitment of all healthcare workers has been essential to allow us to look to the future,” said Inter president Steven Zhang.
“With this initiative, we want to thank them and celebrate their work and at the same time send a message of unity and solidarity between nations.”
Antonio Conte warned Inter Milan need to bounce back from recent setbacks against Sampdoria on Saturday to keep pace with leading duo Juventus and Lazio, before their clash with the Serie A champions in Turin next week.
Inter dropped from first to third, three points behind champions Juventus, after losing 2-1 to second-placed Lazio last weekend, following an Italian Cup defeat to Napoli.
“It was a painful result,” said Conte of the loss in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
“We’ve now got back up with the desire to bounce back and move forward.”
Claudio Ranieri’s Sampdoria are 17th, just one point above the relegation zone, and lost the reverse fixture in Genoa 3-1 in September.
Juventus can open up a six-point gap on Conte’s side with a win at rock bottom SPAL, before hosting Inter in their Allianz Stadium on March 1.
Lazio are just one point behind Juventus as they chase their first Scudetto since 2000, and can push their unbeaten run to 20 games at third-from-bottom Genoa.
Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus have lost their last two away matches and need a win against SPAL before their Champions League last 16, first leg trip to French club Lyon.
But despite their low ranking SPAL have shocked both Lazio and Atalanta this season.
Sarri could rest goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny before their European game allowing veteran Gianluigi Buffon to line out for a record 648 Serie A games.
Napoli travel to Brescia before hosting Barcelona in the Champions League next week in their Stadio San Paolo.
Gennaro Gattuso’s side have moved up to ninth, two points off the Europa League berths, after three wins in their last four games.
In the race for Champions League places, Atalanta are fourth, six points ahead of Roma, with the side from Bergamo hosting Sassuolo on a high after their stunning 4-1 European win over Valencia.
Roma, in fifth, have earned just four points from seven games, and desperately need a result at home against lowly Lecce.
“Not many people think we can qualify (for the Champions League) via the league but we still believe it’s possible,” said coach Paulo Fonseca.
“Right now the most important thing is that we get back to playing the way we were before, without adding any sort of pressure.
“We must regain our swagger and believe.”
Hellas Verona, in sixth, occupy the final Europa League berth, four points behind the side from the capital and equal on 35 points with Parma and AC Milan.
Verona host Cagliari, who have lost momentum and slipped to 11th, after a ten-match winless run going back to early December.
AC Milan travel to 13th-placed Fiorentina, as Torino, just below the Tuscans, host Parma trying to avoid a sixth consecutive defeat.
One to watch
Former Eintracht Frankfurt forward Ante Rebic has burst through with six goals in AC Milan’s last seven games in all competitions.
The 21-year-old joined the seven-time European champions on loan last September, but has only played 13 games, and scored for the first time with a brace against Udinese on January 9.
The arrival of his childhood idol Zlatan Ibrahimovic last month has boosted confidence in the team, said the Croatian international.
647 – Gianluigi Buffon’s matches in Serie A, one short of the all-time record
42 – Points between leaders Juventus and bottom club SPAL
10 – Cristiano Ronaldo’s successive games scoring streak
3 – Roma’s losing run
Fixtures (all times GMT)
Brescia v Napoli (1945)
Bologna v Udinese (1400), SPAL v Juventus (1700), Fiorentina v AC Milan (1945)
Genoa v Lazio (1130GMT), Atalanta v Sassuolo, Hellas Verona v Cagliari, Torino v Parma (all 1400), AS Roma v Lecce (1700), Inter Milan v Sampdoria (1945).
Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi gave warning his side are ready to fight for their first Serie A title since 2000 after moving into second in Serie A on Sunday, just one point off leaders Juventus after a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Inter Milan.
Juventus reclaimed pole position thanks to Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado’s goals as the Turin giants rediscovered their winning form 2-0 at home against Brescia.
Inter Milan dropped from top spot to third — three points behind the eight-time reigning champions — after falling to just their second defeat of the season.
“We need to stay humble and focused but I’m sure we will succeed. We have nothing to lose,” said Inzaghi.
“We know that Juventus and Inter are two great teams and we will do everything to fight to the end, knowing that it will be very difficult.”
In a fiery clash in the Stadio Olimpico defender Ashley Young broke through just before the break with his first Serie A goal for Inter Milan after his move from Manchester United.
The 34-year-old got his foot to tap-in off a rebound after Thomas Straskosha had cleared from former Lazio player Antonio Candreva.
A Stefan de Vrij foul on Ciro Immobile allowed the Serie A top scorer to slot in his 26th goal in 24 games this season, five minutes after the break.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic snatched the winner after 69 minutes amid confusion in front of the goal.
“We gifted Lazio two goals,” said Inter coach Antonio Conte as the northerners fell to their second defeat after Juventus in October.
Lazio extended their unbeaten run to 19 games as they target their second Scudetto, with a return to Champions League football on the cards for next season.
In Turin, Argentine forward Dybala curled in a perfect free-kick six minutes before the break, shortly after Brescia’s Florian Aye was sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession.
Colombian Cuadrado tapped in the second from close range after a Blaise Matuidi cross with 15 minutes to go, to get back winning after two away defeats.
“We did what we had to do,” said Juve coach Maurizio Sarri.
Cristiano Ronaldo was rested, but veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini returned after a long injury layoff.
“Cristiano had to rest, he cannot play 75 games a year between the national team and club, we decided to let him recuperate,” said Sarri.
Sarri said 35-year-old skipper Chiellini had been desperate to get onto the pitch, after nearly six months off with a cruciate knee injury.
“He said it yesterday, he has made six months of sacrifices and wanted to play the last quarter of an hour, and I found myself next to him when he had already taken off his tracksuit.”
The champions did not have it all their own way against Brescia, who stay second-from-bottom, seven points from safety after extending their winless run to nine games.
Enrico Alfonso went off after just 10 minutes following a knock to the head, with substitute Brescia keeper Lorenzo Andrenacci pulling off some fine saves.
Mertens lifts Napoli
In Sardinia, Napoli got back to winning ways with a Dries Mertens’ 65th-minute goal sealing a 1-0 success over Cagliari.
The Belgian completed a give-and-go with Elseid Hysaj with the ball curling in with a deflection off the post.
It was the 32-year-old’s 120th goal for Napoli, one short of Marek Hamsik’s all-time record, and five ahead of club legend Diego Maradona.
“Dries is a phenomenon, a champion who makes difficult things seem simple,” said coach Gennaro Gattuso.
Gattuso’s side overtake Cagliari, moving up to eighth, two points off the Europa League berths, as Cagliari drop to 11th place.
Hellas Verona missed the chance to close in on fifth-placed Roma, who fell 2-1 at Atalanta on Saturday, with a goalless draw at Udinese.
In the Champions League race, Atalanta are fourth, six points ahead of Roma.
Verona, in the sixth, occupies the final Europa League spot ahead of Parma on goal difference, but stay four points behind Roma.