A scramble ensued for Lionel Messi’s signature after leaving Barcelona, and Javier Zanetti feels Inter’s finances meant they missed out.
Lionel Messi held talks with Inter over a potential move to the Italian giants after leaving Barcelona, Javier Zanetti has revealed.
Messi left Barca in 2021 after winning 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions League trophies with the club, eventually opting for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain.
But Zanetti, Messi’s former Argentina team-mate and now Inter vice-president, says there was a chance the diminutive forward could join the 19-time Serie A champions before he chose PSG.
Zanetti pointed to Inter’s financial inferiority to their rivals for Messi’s signature as the main reason he went elsewhere, telling DAZN: “I was surprised when he left Barcelona.
“We can’t realistically compete with PSG or the Premier League clubs, but because of our relationship we talked when there was a chance.”
Messi has since won the Ligue 1 title with PSG while finally finding World Cup glory with Argentina as Inter look to replicate the form that saw them end their 10-year wait for another Serie A title in the 2020-21 campaign.
After missing out on retaining the title by two points to rivals Milan last season, time is running out for the Nerazzurri this campaign to overhaul the 13-point gap on leaders Napoli, with Luciano Spalletti’s side showing no signs of slowing their rampant pace. saw them win 18 of their top 21 matches.
The Partenopei’s only defeat came at the hands of Inter in January, and Zanetti has mixed feelings about his team’s efforts this term: “We could have done more in the league. We’re missing some points but it’s part of the journey this team is consistently taking.
“Mistakes are normal in such a busy schedule, but I always saw a team that wanted to impose their style and tried to cause problems for the opposition.
“We were able to respond to the difficulties and I found that some of the criticism was exaggerated.”
Center back Milan Škriniar will join Messi at PSG next season after deciding to turn down a new contract with Inter and instead move to France when his current contract expires.
Zanetti hopes Skriniar remains in the right space to help Inter perform at their best for the rest of the season, with Simone Inzaghi’s side still fighting for Champions League and Coppa Italia silverware alongside their league duties, having already lifted the Supercoppa Italiana by that beat Milan 3-0 in Saudi Arabia last month.
“We offered him a contract within our financial possibilities, but he decided otherwise,” added Zanetti. “Now we have to get him in the best condition so he can be at his best for the rest of the season.”