The rise of Lautaro Martinez

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Lautaro Javier Martinez (born 22 August 1997) is an Argentine footballer who plays as a striker for Italian Club Inter Milan and Argentina national team.

Born in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, Lautaro began his career in his native country and made his senior debut with Racing Club. He played four seasons for the club representing them in the Copa Libertardores and scoring 27 goals in 60 appearances.

Club Career

Early Career

Martinez began his youth career with Liniers representing them at the U17 level. He excelled with them and scored 13 league goals in 2013 and also registered a goal in the National Cup for the youth side but they unfortunately lost to Rosario on penalties.

Racing Club

Racing Club’s interim coach Fabio Radaeli who was carefully monitoring Lautaro Martinez who continued to exhibit his fine form at the youth level signed him for the club in January 2014.

The young attacker soon after joining the club constantly reported to be homesick and wanted Fiji return to his hometown but Braian Mansilla who was his teammate convinced him to stay and he went on to score 53 goals in 64 appearances for the club’s reserve side.

Spanish giants Real Madrid wanted to sign Martinez with Racing Club agreeing on the deal but the attacker opted to stay in Argentina and had his senior team debut on 1 November 2015 coming in to replace Diego Milito in their 3-0 win over Crucero del Norte.

Martinez had his first career red card in a game against Argentinos where it ended in a 2-2 draw. He was booked twice in the space of five minutes and was sent off with two yellow cards.

In December 2017, Lautaro underwent a medical with Spanish club Atletico Madrid. Reports came in later that he had signed an extension with Racing Club with an increased release clause with his parent club criticising Atletico for submitting him to a medical without thier notice.

Lautaro was linked with a move to Italian side Inter Milan with Racing Club President Victor Blanco confirming on 5 May 2018 that the sale had gone through.  Blanco said they would attempt to keep the striker on loan with the Italian side until December 2018 in order for the striker to take part  in their Copa Libertardores campaign.

Inter Milan

Martinez officially joined Inter Milan on 4 July 2018 for a reported transfer fee of €22.7m signing a five-year contract with the Serie A side. He played in a friendly against Swiss side Lugano ten days later in friendly where he scored in their 3-0 win.

His Serie A debut came in a 1-0 loss to Sassuolo in the opening week. He netted his first Serie A goal against Cagliari on 29 September 2018 and registered his first European goal as he scored a penalty against Rapid Wien in the first leg of the 2018-19 Europa League round of 32 on February 14, 2019.

On 2 October 2019, he scored his first Champions League goal in a 2-1 away defeat to Barcelona. He became the first player since Roberto Boninsegna in 1970 to score at the Camp Nou for Inter.  He scored in 5-0 win of the 2020 Europa League semi final win over Shakhtar Donetsk.

International Career

Martinez have represented Argentina at youth level having his call up into the youth team that played in the South American Youth Football Championship where he ended up as a joint topscorer with five goals helping Argentina to qualify for the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup.

Martinez representing Argentina in the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup

 

On 12 March 2018, Martinez had his first call up into the senior national team  for two friendly matches against Italy and Spain.

He made his full debut in a friendly against Iraq where they won by 4-0 and he registered his first national team goal for the senior side.

On 10 September Martinez scored his first International career hatrick in a friendly against Mexico where Argentina won 4-0.

Honours

▪︎UEFA Europa League runner up: 2019/20

▪︎UEFA Europa League Squad of of the seaon: 2019/20

 

 

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