The Italian noted it was hard enough to sign the Belgian, meaning a move for the Argentine star would be near impossible
Antonio Conte reiterated his belief that rumours linking Lionel Messi to Inter are a little farfetched, hinting he struggled to even get the club to sign Romelu Lukaku.
Inter closed out a solid 2019-20 Serie A campaign on Saturday, beating Atalanta 2-0 in Bergamo to secure the runner-up spot in Italy’s top flight.
Having already backed Conte significantly in the transfer market, Inter are expected to further strengthen ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.
One somewhat outlandish report in Italy has claimed Inter are trying to lure Barcelona icon and Ballon d’Or holder Messi away from La Liga, with his future a little uncertain due to turbulence at Camp Nou.
But Conte will remain realistic, particularly after Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta likened the rumour to a “utopian” fantasy.
“Look, only I know what I had to do to get Lukaku,” he joked to reporters after the match. “Trust me, at the end of the season we will make evaluations.”
Lukaku, a 2019 arrival from Manchester United, finished his maiden Serie A campaign as Inter’s top scorer, having netted 23 times, and Conte paid tribute to the Belgium striker along with his attacking colleagues Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez.
“He is strong, I was already looking for him at Chelsea but then he went to United,” Conte said of Lukaku. “He is an atypical footballer who can be a point of reference, but he can improve.
“Today, I also liked Lautaro and Sanchez. It is thanks to these guys if we scored 81 goals and if we finished second.”
Despite Inter’s strong finish to the Serie A season, Conte cut a frustrated figure at the end of the match and seemed to hit out at the club’s management for a lack of support.
Conte’s side beat Ludogrets 4-1 on aggregate in the Round of 32 after failing to make the knockout stages of the Champions League.