Antonio Conte wouldn’t want Lionel Messi at Inter, according to Paolo Di Canio, who thinks the Barcelona superstar’s profile would see him become bigger than the club.
Messi’s future at Camp Nou has been the subject of much speculation throughout the turbulent 2019-20 campaign. The Argentine only has one year left to run on his current contract and has been strongly linked with a move away from Catalonia in recent months.
Inter has been mooted as a possible next destination for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, but Conte dismissed the notion of a possible transfer after the 2-0 win over Atalanta on Sunday.
Quizzed on a potential move for Messi, the 51-year-old head coach told reporters: “Look, only I know what I had to do to get [Romelu] Lukaku. Trust me, at the end of the season we will make evaluations.”
Former Italy international Di Canio says that even if it were possible for Inter to bring in the Barca talisman, Conte would oppose a deal due to the attention that would come with such a huge signing.
“If Inter really decided to go for Messi and had already told him that they will do everything to take him, are you sure that Conte would like Messi at Inter? I say no,” the ex-Lazio and Juventus striker told Sky Sports.
“It would mean that we would talk more about Messi than about Inter, as happens with Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus, or even more.”
Conte was also asked to assess his first year at San Siro following his side’s final outing of the season, and he took the opportunity to criticise the Inter board for failing to shield him or the players amid intense media scrutiny.
After Inter finished second in Serie A by a single point behind Juventus, the Nerazzurri head coach stated: “Neither my work nor the players’ work was acknowledged, I found little protection from the club when making comparisons. If you want to reduce the gap with Juventus you have to be strong on the pitch but above all off it.”
Di Canio believes Conte’s comments could end up costing him his position, as he added: “Yesterday was something very serious. I don’t know why Antonio said those words, but even if he were to stay at Inter, the scar will remain and the difficulties will come out again.”