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Lautaro Martínez

'I didn't arrive as I wanted' - Argentina star Lautaro says his 'ankle was in pieces' before 2022 World Cup

12:47 WAT 03/01/2023
Lautaro Martinez Argentina Mexico World Cup
Lautaro Martinez says his "ankle was in pieces" before the World Cup, with the Argentina star admitting: "I didn't arrive in Qatar as I wanted."
  • Lautaro struggled in the World Cup
  • Played through an ankle injury
  • Fit again and wants to win Serie A with Inter

WHAT HAPPENED? The Argentine forward was nowhere near his best at the 2022 World Cup and finished with no goal contributions during his country's run to their third global title. Lautaro started in their shock defeat to Saudi Arabia on matchday one but his four subsequent appearances came from the bench as he lost his place to Julian Alvarez. Towards the end of the tournament, the 25-year-old's agent Alejandro Camacho revealed that the striker was taking painkiller injections to play through an ankle injury. Now, Lautaro has confirmed the full extent of the issue he picked up while still at Inter, admitting it did hold him back in Qatar.

WHAT THEY SAID: The Inter star is still proud of his efforts for a history-making Argentina side, as he told reporters this week: "Even here at Inter we've overcome many difficult moments. If I don't score a goal, I help the team in other ways. Sometimes we don't like hearing so many words from outside because people don't know what's going on inside. Before the World Cup I was playing with my ankle in pieces for a month. I didn't arrive in Qatar as I wanted but the coach and the doctors know it. (But) I go to sleep peacefully because I always train at my best.

"This experience made me change a lot. I started playing, but then I couldn't train due to ankle problems. Then the other striker [Alvarez] played. I'm happy with what I experienced. The coach complimented me as did my teammates I'm happy to be here fighting with them for our goals."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Lautaro went on to discuss Inter's struggles in the opening half of the season. The Nerazzurri are currently in fifth place in Serie A, 11 points adrift of leaders Napoli, but the Argentine still believes they can be in the title mix. He added ahead of Inter's return to action against Napoli: "I believe it, the first part isn't over yet. We know we lost points. We have to prepare well for Napoli and do our job. There's also the Coppa Italia and the Super Cup. We have to prepare to win everything."

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR LAUTARO? The Inter talisman will hope to make Simone Inzaghi's starting XI for their clash with Napoli in Serie A on Wednesday.