Inter owners Suning have the resources to sign Lionel Messi from Barcelona, according to the Italian club's former president Massimo Moratti.

Barca superstar Messi has been linked with a shock switch to Inter once his contract expires in 2021 after reportedly growing unhappy at Camp Nou.

That speculation only intensified last month when a picture of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner was projected by the Suning Group onto the Duomo di Milano.

And Moratti, who brought Ronaldo to Inter and also tried to sign Messi, is confident the Serie A giants will land the Argentina international if they really want him.

"I'm just a fan and I don't have any confidential news," he told Quotidiano Sportivo.

"But I know one thing. When it comes to resources and competence, Suning has what it takes to bring Messi to Milan."

Inter already have a prolific attacker leading their line in the form of Romelu Lukaku, who has scored 31 goals in his first season since joining from Manchester United.

Moratti suggested at the start of the season Mauro Icardi would be a better option than Lukaku, but he has admitted to being proved wrong by Lukaku.

"I got it wrong on Lukaku," he said. "In all honesty, I thought he was just physically strong and feared we would regret losing Icardi.

"Instead, Romelu is a champion, always helps his team-mates and has good vision of the play.

"Antonio Conte was right to demand his signing and then did so well to improve him."

Antonio Conte hailed Romelu Lukaku after another superb individual display in the Europa League quarter-finals, but insisted the forward's success is also down to his Inter team-mates.

Lukaku scored what proved to be the winner as Inter set up a Europa League semi-final against either Shakhtar Donetsk or Basel thanks to Monday's 2-1 triumph over Bayer Leverkusen.

Nicolo Barella – having latched onto the rebound from a blocked Lukaku shot – opened the scoring, with Inter's star Belgian doubling their lead prior to Kai Havertz pulling one goal back for Leverkusen.

Lukaku could have scored a hat-trick, had referee Carlos del Cerro Grande not overturned two penalties after consulting with VAR.

But while lauding Lukaku, who became the first player to score in nine successive Europa League matches and has netted 29 times in all competitions this season, Conte affirmed that he would be nothing without the team supporting him.

"It's difficult to talk about individuals when you have such a great team performance," Inter head coach Conte told Sky Italia.

"Romelu is having an excellent season, supported by the team, who put everyone in a position to express themselves at their best on an individual level too.

"I'm happy for him, as he deserves all of this success, but Romelu must also thank the team for putting him in the conditions to express himself in the best form of his entire career."

Though Conte conceded his team's finishing should have been more clinical, he had little complaints as Inter headed to within 90 minutes of reaching their first European final since 2010.

"We are very satisfied, because it was a very good performance," said Conte, whose Inter finished second and just a point behind Juventus in Serie A.

"As I always end up saying, we could've killed the game off earlier and relaxed a little. We didn't allow many chances at all, but the fact is we had so many chances and should've scored more than two.

"The lads showed how hungry they were, how determined to prove that what they're doing is important. We've got an opportunity to play a Europa League semi-final. We want to achieve the maximum. We want to go all the way."

One player who may not be fit to feature for Inter in the semi-final is Alexis Sanchez, who sustained a muscle strain in his right leg.

Romelu Lukaku and Nicolo Barella revelled in Inter's progression to the Europa League semi-finals on Monday, with the latter claiming their win over Bayer Leverkusen proved their doubters wrong.

Barella and Lukaku scored as Inter sealed their place in the last four with a 2-1 triumph over Leverkusen, who pulled one back through Kai Havertz.

Inter squandered several chances to add to their lead, while the Nerazzurri also had two penalties overturned by the referee after he consulted with VAR.

Ultimately, though, the early strikes from Barella and Lukaku proved enough, and the former believes Inter showed real grit to get through.

"We proved to everyone who said we weren't a team that we are a great group and we've got balls,” Barella told Sky Italia.

"We could've killed it off earlier and rested a little more, but Leverkusen are a very strong side and caused us problems.

"Now we have proved ourselves as a team and want to reach the final. Just as we respect everyone in the competition, they have to worry about us too."

Lukaku's goal set a new record in the Europa League, as he became the first player to net in nine successive appearances in the competition.

However, the former Manchester United forward's focus is not on personal achievements.

"Records are records, but the victory was so important, Leverkusen are a team with great quality and an excellent coach," Lukaku told Sky Italia.

"The defence did a great job and in my view the man of the match was Barella, as in recent weeks he has been just fantastic, he's everywhere.

"We've been clearly improving recently, we just need to finish more of our chances and kill games off earlier. Now we have a week to prepare for the semi-final.

"That is going to be another huge game and we have to be ready."

Romelu Lukaku and Nicolo Barella were on target as Inter saw off Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 to reach the Europa League semi-finals.

Inter led 2-0 inside 21 minutes at Merkur Spielarena in Dusseldorf – Barella opening the scoring before Lukaku squeezed in a record-setting goal.

Leverkusen star Kai Havertz pulled one back three minutes later, with VAR then denying Lukaku – the first player to score in nine successive UEFA Cup or Europa League games – the chance to double his tally from the spot, a fate he would suffer again in second-half stoppage time.

Alexis Sanchez went close to marking his first appearance since signing permanently for Inter with a goal midway through the first half, but the Nerazzurri's blistering start ultimately proved enough to book their semi-final place.

In a frantic opening, it was Inter who went ahead after 15 minutes – Barella sending a brilliant outside-of-the-boot finish into the bottom-left corner.

Barella latched onto a rebound from a blocked Lukaku shot for Inter's opener, but the former Manchester United striker had his goal six minutes later when he held off Edmond Tapsoba and turned in a low finish.

Lukaku squandered a golden chance to extend Inter's lead moments later, and he was swiftly made to pay as Havertz drilled in from close range.

Momentum appeared to have swung back in Inter's favour within two minutes – Daley Sinkgraven adjudged to have handled in the area – but referee Carlos del Cerro Grande changed his decision after consulting VAR.

Roberto Gagliardini might have restored Inter's two-goal cushion following the restart, had Lukaku not got in the way of his effort.

Lukas Hradecky made fine saves to deny Sanchez – who played on through an apparent hamstring injury suffered late on – and Victor Moses as Inter pressed for a third, though it looked as if they would have the final say when Christian Eriksen was awarded a penalty.

However, VAR worked against Inter for a second time, the referee overturning his initial decision due to an accidental handball from Barella but, fortunately for Inter, they were not made to rue the call. 

What does it mean? Inter looking strong

Leverkusen were arguably the strongest side Inter would have to face in this side of the draw, and the Nerazzurri have passed the test. While Shakhtar Donetsk or Basel will be no pushovers, Conte's side should be confident of reaching their first European final since 2010.

Record-setting Lukaku rolls on

With his brilliantly taken goal, Lukaku cemented himself in the Europa League record books, adding another accolade to what has been a fantastic first season with Inter.

Tah and Tapsoba found lacking

With Sven Bender suffering a late injury, Peter Bosz was left without one of his most experienced players, and the former Borussia Dortmund man was certainly missed as Inter got at Leverkusen's youthful centre-back pairing of Jonathan Tah and Tapsoba time and time again.

What's next?

Shakhtar or Basel, who play on Tuesday, will face Inter on August 17. Leverkusen, meanwhile, will now prepare for the new Bundesliga season, which starts in September.

Romelu Lukaku scored for a ninth successive Europa League match as Inter took on Bayer Leverkusen on Monday, setting a new record in the competition.

Inter forward Lukaku put Antonio Conte's side 2-0 up 21 minutes into the quarter-final clash in Germany, squeezing a low finish in after holding off Edmond Tapsoba, before Kai Havertz pulled one back for Leverkusen.

Having matched a long-standing Alan Shearer record with a strike against Getafe last week, Lukaku is the first player to score in nine straight matches in either the UEFA Cup or the Europa League.

The Belgium international had previously appeared in the competition with Everton in 2014-15, scoring in matches against Dynamo Kiev, Young Boys and Wolfsburg.

Lukaku looked set to have the chance to add to his tally shortly after Havertz's strike, when Daley Sinkgraven was penalised for handball, but the spot-kick was overturned after the referee checked with VAR.

In his maiden season in Serie A, former Manchester United striker Lukaku scored 23 league goals for Inter, as they finished second behind Juventus.

Romelu Lukaku "cost the same as all of Getafe", Jose Bordalas said after his side's Europa League loss to Inter.

Goals from Lukaku and Christian Eriksen saw Inter record a 2-0 win over the LaLiga side in the last-16 clash in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday.

Signed by Inter from Manchester United for a reported €80million (£72.3m) last year, Lukaku has scored 30 goals this season.

Getafe boss Bordalas said the difference between his team and Inter was enormous, highlighting how much Lukaku cost.

"We are sad because I think the team played a great game," he said.

"We had Inter on the ropes during the second half. We had control of the game and, unfortunately, in our mistake in their first goal after practically nothing had been put forward, but the team did not fall and we had the penalty that would have put us fully into the possibility of passing this tie.

"It is a shame, but I am proud because the approach has been fantastic, the team has interpreted it great. I am very proud of the work of the players.

"The difference is very big, only Lukaku cost the same as all of Getafe."

Jorge Molina missed a 76th-minute penalty for Getafe that would have drawn them level.

Inter will face either Rangers or Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League quarter-finals.

Romelu Lukaku is already looking forward after helping Inter reach the Europa League quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Goals from Lukaku and Christian Eriksen saw Inter beat Getafe 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen to move into the last eight.

Lukaku moved onto 30 goals in a season for the first time in his career and missed a glorious chance in the second half.

The striker was quick to forget about squandering that opportunity as he looked ahead.

"The miss? These things happen in football, but I'm already thinking about the next game," Lukaku told Sky Sport.

"I want to win and continue to help the team. The work we're doing with the coach is really important.

"The team is growing and we need to move ahead with the same mentality and desire to improve."

Jorge Molina missed a 76th-minute penalty for Getafe as Inter moved into a clash against either Rangers or Bayer Leverkusen in the quarter-finals.

Lukaku became the first Inter player to net 30 goals in a season since Samuel Eto'o in 2010-11 and the Belgian was happy to get on the scoresheet.

"We knew it would be a difficult game, against an aggressive team," he said.

"The defence did a really good job and we did well at the front. I'm happy with my goal, and Christian's too."

Inter will face Rangers or Leverkusen in Dusseldorf on Monday.

Jorge Molina paid for an awful penalty miss as Romelu Lukaku and Christian Eriksen sent Inter into the Europa League quarter-finals with a 2-0 victory over Getafe.

With Lukaku having opened the scoring for Inter midway through the first half, Getafe veteran Molina had the chance to restore parity with 14 minutes remaining following Diego Godin's handball.

Yet Molina fluffed his lines, hacking his effort embarrassingly wide just seven minutes after coming on as a substitute in Germany, where a one-off tie was played after the coronavirus pandemic delayed the original first leg.

A glaring miss from Lukaku moments later gave Getafe some hope, but Eriksen was on hand to extinguish any chance of a comeback and seal Inter's last-eight spot.

Samir Handanovic was called into action inside two minutes, diving to his left to keep out Nemanja Maksimovic's header, and Alessandro Bastoni's block denied Jaime Mata.

Lautaro Martinez forced David Soria into two fine saves in response, before Lukaku went one better in the 33rd minute, slamming home with a brilliant finish after latching onto Bastoni's pass.

Danilo D'Ambrosio and Godin each almost doubled Inter's lead following the restart, while Handanovic pulled off an excellent stop from Mata's header at the other end.

Getafe were handed a lifeline when the VAR spotted a handball from Godin, prompting referee Anthony Taylor to visit the pitchside monitor and then award a penalty.

But having just replaced Mata, Molina got his spot-kick horribly wrong, sending a terrible attempt a yard wide of the left-hand upright.

Lukaku should have finished things off moments later, only to send a close-range shot wide, but his miss mattered little when substitute Erisken struck from eight yards out to compound Getafe's misery.

Romelu Lukaku matched a long-standing Alan Shearer record on Wednesday as he opened the scoring for Inter against Getafe.

Lukaku put Inter 1-0 up in their last-16 tie against the Spanish side in Germany with an exceptional finish in the 33rd minute.

The Belgian's strike made it eight successive Europa League appearances in which he had scored, with the 27-year-old having also netted in each leg of Inter's round-of-32 tie against Ludogorets.

He had previously appeared in the competition with Everton in 2014-15, scoring in matches against Dynamo Kiev, Young Boys and Wolfsburg.

Previously, only Premier League icon Shearer – back in 2004-05 with Newcastle United – had scored in his eight consecutive appearances in either the UEFA Cup or Europa League.

Lukaku has enjoyed a brilliant first season for Inter, scoring 23 Serie A goals as Antonio Conte's side finished second behind Juventus.

Romelu Lukaku believes Inter are heading in the right direction after finishing as runners-up to Juventus in Serie A.

A 2-0 final weekend win at Atalanta secured the runners-up spot for Antonio Conte's men, whose fine late-season form meant they finished only a point shy of Juve, who contrastingly shambled towards the finishing post.

Lukaku scored 23 goals in 36 top-flight outings in his debut campaign for the Nerazzurri following an €80million switch from Manchester United and hopes the best is yet to come.

"Serie A is finished but we're still building and going the right way," the Belgium striker wrote in an Instagram post.

"Thank you for supporting the team throughout this season. To all of my team-mates, you guys have been wonderful. I would give my all for you guys every single day."

Inter's final haul of 82 points matched their title-winning total under Jose Mourinho in 2009-10.

It is the first time they have earned in excess of 79 points without winning the Scudetto.

Antonio Conte told Romelu Lukaku he must improve despite the Inter striker's fine form in his first season in Serie A.

Lukaku has scored 23 league goals since signing from Manchester United last year, including four in his past five games.

The Belgium international netted twice in Inter's 3-0 win at Genoa on Saturday, prompting praise from Conte, who marvelled at a brilliant second strike in stoppage time.

But the Nerazzurri head coach also suggested Lukaku could improve and hammered this message home ahead of Tuesday's clash with Napoli.

"He is a footballer who has room for improvement," Conte told Inter TV. "In some game situations, he can and must improve.

"As I said after the [Genoa] match, we are talking about an atypical footballer. Despite his size and his strength, he is also fast, with the ability to score goals like the one against Genoa in the 93rd minute.

"It's up to him and his desire to improve. The important thing is that each of us is hungry to raise the bar and try to grow more and more."

Inter are preparing to play Napoli for the fourth time this season, having faced the Partenopei in a two-legged Coppa Italia semi-final.

Conte is aware of the threat his side's next opponents possess after crashing out of that competition 2-1 on aggregate, yet he believes their performance in the second leg - a 1-1 draw - ranks among their best of the campaign.

Asked how he enjoyed the 3-1 away league win in Naples, the coach said: "It was a good game on our part, but in some ways I think that, of the three games, perhaps the most beautiful was the return leg in the Coppa Italia, where we would deserved more.

"But we are talking about a strong team, able to frustate those who have won the Scudetto in recent years. They have a very good squad and they were impressive in winning the Coppa."

Antonio Conte suggested Romelu Lukaku would be well suited to the NFL as he marvelled at the Inter striker's pace and power after a superb display against Genoa.

Lukaku scored the first and last goals in a 3-0 win, with Alexis Sanchez also on target as the Nerazzurri moved second in Serie A.

The Belgium striker was brilliant throughout but saved the moment of the match for stoppage time, accelerating into the Genoa box and blasting in for a stunning solo strike.

Lukaku now has 23 league goals this season, yet Conte believes American football would similarly be a match for his talents.

"Romelu is an atypical footballer because despite being 1.90 metres in height, he is also fast," Conte told a news conference.

"He acts as a focal point but also, from the middle of the pitch, attacks like an American football player.

"I insisted on having him here and he can still grow with his touch and attacking the goal with malice.

"He is only 27 years old and if he wants to continue growing, he has an important future."

Lukaku was delighted with his own contribution but announced his frustration at Inter's failure to seriously challenge Juventus in the closing weeks of the campaign.

The league leaders can clinch the Scudetto against Sampdoria on Sunday, with Inter four points adrift having played a game more.

"On a personal level, I am happy," Lukaku told Sky Sport Italia. "But I say that at the team level, we can do so much more.

"We have a good team, it is not easy to stay second because we want to win. But we have to go as high as possible and I want to help to do it.

"We have lost too many points, but we are young and we want to grow. Now we want to do well in the final matches in the league and then in the Europa League."

Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Inter returned to winning ways with a 3-0 Serie A success at Genoa.

Consecutive draws had seen the Nerazzurri pass up the opportunity to properly capitalise on Juventus' shaky form, with the leaders still able to seal the Scudetto against Sampdoria on Sunday.

But even with their title hopes virtually extinguished, Antonio Conte's side were back on their game at the Luigi Ferraris to move up to second.

Lukaku nodded in his 22nd league goal of the season 34 minutes in and, after Alexis Sanchez added a late second, got his 23rd with a marvellous individual effort, leaving Genoa still just four points clear of the bottom three, having played a game more than 18th-placed Lecce.

Pressure had steadily built on the Genoa goal after a slow Inter start, with Lukaku - at the heart of all of their best work - helping to create chances for Marcelo Brozovic and Christian Eriksen that were both squandered.

The Belgium striker made sure the visitors were in front heading into half-time, though, as he ghosted into the area to meet Cristiano Biraghi's searching cross with a firm header in off the post.

A curling Filip Jagiello free-kick provided a brief scare, yet a low-key second period saw few clear openings at either end.

Although Genoa belatedly threw men forward in search of an equaliser, they were swiftly caught out in defence at the other end and substitute Sanchez netted via the bar after fine work from Victor Moses on the right.

There was still time for Lukaku to produce the moment of the match, racing forward deep into stoppage time and cutting inside past desperate challenges to hammer in the third.


What does it mean? Inter up to second but focus on Europe

Inter's form has not been convincing since the season's restart, yet they climbed back up to second with just two league games remaining with victory.

Though their slim title aspirations remain alive, their focus now is surely on the Europa League, with a last-16 tie against Getafe less than two weeks away. Conte can be encouraged by the control his side largely displayed.

Lukaku key in games to come

Inter were well on top for much of this match, but it fell to Lukaku to be their driving force, playing the role of both creator and finisher. He might have had an assist even before scoring the opener.

The former Manchester United striker's form will be crucial heading towards the Europa League, with strike partner Lautaro Martinez still struggling for form.

Inter waiting on Eriksen impact

Conte's pre-match comments focused on Eriksen, who the coach believes is growing into his role at Inter.

Some supporters might not be convinced by the former Tottenham midfielder just yet, though, and he passed up a big early opportunity to net his fourth Nerazzurri goal, lashing over the top following a smart Lukaku lay-off.

What's next?

The fixture list does not make easy reading for Inter, even if their league season is essentially over. They face Napoli next, followed by Atalanta and Getafe. Genoa do still need points and visit Sassuolo on Wednesday.

Romelu Lukaku's wastefulness proved costly as Fiorentina claimed a 0-0 draw at San Siro to leave toothless Inter's Serie A title hopes hanging by a thread.

Lukaku could have had a first-half hat-trick on Wednesday but a combination of poor finishing and inspired Viola goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano left Inter frustrated time and again.

The Belgium striker and Alexis Sanchez hit the woodwork as Antonio Conte's side missed the chance to move above Atalanta into second place with three games to play.

Inter dominated the majority of the match but could not find a way past Terracciano and it should be only a matter of time before Juve celebrate another Scudetto.

Terracciano produced a sharp double save to prevent Martin Caceres scoring an own goal and deny Lukaku in a bright start for Inter.

Terracciano again showed sharp reflexes to tip Nicolo Barella's rasping long-range drive wide for a corner before Lukaku rose unmarked to head Christian Eriksen's inviting cross against the far post from point-blank range with rain lashing down.

Lukaku spurned another great chance when he was left unmarked again, drilling straight at the busy Terracciano from six yards out after the Nerazzurri lost Stefan de Vrij to a sprained knee in a frustrating first half.

Antonio Candreva showed Lukaku how it is done when he volleyed home, but the flag was correctly up for offside and Sanchez's strike was tipped onto the post by Terracciano as the opening goal remained elusive.

Lautaro Martinez came on with just over 20 minutes remaining, but only the alertness of Samir Handanovic to keep out a close-range effort from Pol Lirola stopped Fiorentina snatching all three points.

Romelu Lukaku came off the bench to keep Inter’s slim Serie A title hopes alive as his late penalty secured a 2-2 draw with Roma.

Antonio Conte's men could have closed the gap on leaders Juventus to three points with victory at Stadio Olimpico but instead head to settle for a draw, which came courtesy of Lukaku's spot-kick following Leonardo Spinazzola's clumsy challenge on Victor Moses.

Inter had earlier squandered an early lead given to them by Stefan de Vrij's 15th-minute header –  a Serie A record 500th goal scored in this fixture – as Spinazzola and Henrikh Mkhitaryan turned the game on its head with goals either side of half-time.

However, Inter were handed a reprieve when Spinazzola recklessly kicked out at Moses four minutes from time – Lukaku keeping his composure to salvage a point.

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