Speaking at the Ballon d’Or Gala on Monday night, Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez has shot down any talk of a potential transfer to Real Madrid.
The Argentine international, who was part of the squad that won the FIFA World Cup 2022, had been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu during the summer transfer window.
The Merengues were linked with a host of centre-forwards during the summer following the departure of Karim Benzema, and Martinez was one among them.
Martinez addresses Real Madrid links
The 26-year-old continues to be mentioned as a possible target for the Spanish capital club as they are still on the lookout for a top-quality striker.
After helping Inter reach the finals of the Champions League last season, Martinez has been in red-hot form in this campaign as well, bagging 12 goals in 13 matches.
And, when asked about the Real Madrid links, the Argentine hitman admitted that his heart and mind are fully focused on Inter Milan at this moment.
As quoted by Mundo Deportivo, Martinez said: “Real Madrid? Obviously, we’re talking about a very big team, but my head and my heart are always directed towards Inter.”
Mbappe, Haaland the main aim
Having not replaced Karim Benzema during the summer, Real Madrid aim to sign a marquee forward next summer, with Kylian Mbappe of PSG understood to be the main aim.
However, recent reports suggest that the Merengues have grand plans of signing both Mbappe and Erling Haaland of Manchester City.
If those plans do not come to fruition, a player like Lautaro might not be the worst Plan B for Real Madrid, given the level he has been showing in the last two seasons.
Real Madrid youngster in line for significant minutes against Granada – report
Nico Paz was long hyped as Real Madrid Castilla’s brightest upcoming star. The media constantly kept the spotlight on the young Argentine through pre-season as he made a strong impression under Carlo Ancelotti in preseason.
His breakthrough eventually arrived, courtesy of Real Madrid’s injury crisis. He has now made two appearances for the team in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League and even recorded his first goal for the club earlier this week against Napoli.
Taking his chances
As revealed by AS (h/t The Madrid Zone), Paz has impressed management with his cameo against Napoli and will be called up for Real Madrid’s clash against Granada tomorrow.
In fact, there is a good chance he sees significant game time on the night.
After all, Ancelotti is without the likes of Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga in the middle of the park.
With Toni Kroos, Dani Ceballos, Federico Valverde, and Jude Bellingham filling the starting spots, Paz serves as the manager’s first-choice backup off the bench.
Paz voices his elation
Paz’s introduction against Napoli changed the texture of the game, and it was only poetic that he got the goal that put Real Madrid ahead again on the night.
Speaking to the media after his special night, the Castilla star did not hold back on his emotions.
“This is a dream. For a moment I didn’t even believe it. Very happy to be able to help the team. I dared. I was in automatic mode, I didn’t even know what I was doing. I hit it and well.”
“This is also a message for the other youth players: it is possible to get there. Ancelotti congratulated me, and the whole staff. They are an incredible group and I want to thank them all,” he added, urging his Castilla teammates to keep pushing.