Lionel Messi Barcelona 2019-20Getty

‘Messi is no forbidden dream' - ex-Inter chief Moratti says club 'will explore deal’ for Barcelona star

Lionel Messi is not a “forbidden dream” for Inter and the Serie A giants will rekindle their interest in the Argentine if no contract extension is agreed at Barcelona, claims Massimo Moratti.

The former Nerazzurri president did his best to put a stunning deal in place for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner during his time at San Siro.

Messi left the door ajar for a move to be made, with the South American talking up his admiration for the Italian outfit. That offered Inter hope, but prising an all-time great away from Camp Nou was never going to be easy.

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Messi has remained a one-club man, with fresh terms agreed in Catalunya at regular intervals. The 32-year-old is, however, yet to commit his future to Barca beyond 2021, despite the best efforts of the Liga champions.

There is an exit clause in his current terms that will allow him to walk away at the end of the 2019-20 campaign, with the likes of Manchester City and Inter once again being credited with interest.

Moratti, who once lured Ronaldo to Milan from Barcelona, believes there is an outside chance of Messi being talked into joining eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo in Serie A.

Inter atalanta 2020 Lautaro MartinezGetty Images

He told Radio Rai: “I don’t think it’s a forbidden dream at all. Maybe it wasn’t even before this misfortune [the coronavirus lockdown].

“Messi is at the end of his contract and it would certainly be attempted to bring him home. I don’t know if this situation will change anything, but I think we will see strange things at the end of the year.”

Amid the talk of Messi potentially leaving Barcelona for Inter, speculation is building regarding a switch for Lautaro Martinez in the opposite direction. The highly-rated 22-year-old Argentina international is said to have emerged as a top target for the Blaugrana.

Moratti is a big fan of Lautaro, having seen him record 16 goals in the 2019-20 campaign, and admits that Inter may look to land Messi as part of any deal which takes one exciting talent away from their ranks.

He added: “He is a very good lad, he cares about his career, but as I said before, we have to see if it’s part of an operation for bigger players like Messi.”