Inter CEO Marotta dismisses Messi talk, praises Conte after Nerazzurri finish second

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Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta once again poured cold water over the possibility of signing Barcelona captain Lionel Messi, labelling the speculation as a "pure dream".

Messi continues to be linked to Inter, with the Barca superstar reportedly unhappy at Camp Nou and prepared to leave the LaLiga giants once his contract expires in 2021.

There has been renewed talk that Inter could attempt to prise Messi to San Siro after a picture of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner was projected onto the Duomo di Milano prior to Tuesday's 2-0 Serie A victory over Napoli.

However, Inter CEO Marotta dismissed the chance of Messi swapping Barca for the Italian club following Saturday's season-ending 2-0 triumph at Atalanta.

"We have to be realistic, it's a dream. These are fantasies," Marotta told Sky Sport Italia.

"Messi is an absolute top player who is with his ideal club like Barcelona, where I think he will end his career. So, I repeat that this is a pure dream."

Inter finished the 2019-20 Serie A season just a point adrift of champions Juventus thanks to their success away to high-flying Atalanta.

Ashley Young scored a fine goal from outside the box after team-mate Danilo D'Ambrosio had given Inter the lead inside just 50 seconds.

Despite securing a runners-up finish in his first season with Inter, head coach Antonio Conte took aim at the Nerazzurri afterwards, claiming neither he nor his players received protection from the club amid criticism.

But Marotta – who also worked alongside Conte at Juventus – said: "Second place is the confirmation of a project that has been underway since the beginning of this season.

"The fact that we have matched the points earned in the treble season, that we have set the away goals record and maintained the best defence in the league are great facts, but the priority is to have created a model for the seasons to follow. So, I have to thank the management for the support given to the team."