Tuesday August 4 2020
Verratti: 'Serie A has returned to the top'

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti said former Inter captain Mauro Icardi has ‘goals in his veins’, enjoyed following a tight Serie A 2019-20 and has been happy to see Italy ‘attracting great champions again’.

The Italy international has never played in Serie A but has established himself as a vital member of a highly successful PSG side.

Les Parisiens prepare to face Atalanta in the Champions League and the 27-year-old, capped 36 times by Italy so far, spoke to Tuttosport about the quarter-final, former Inter hero Mauro Icardi, Serie A and Lionel Messi’s link with the Nerazzurri.

Icardi arrived at PSG last summer and signed a permanent deal with the Ligue 1 champions after having scored 20 goals in 33 games across all competitions with his new side.

However, the Argentine didn’t find the net in either of the club’s last two domestic Cup Finals, but Verratti is not worried.

“He’s a player for the area and perhaps it’s noted when he doesn’t score goals,” Verratti told Tuttosport. “But he’s valuable to open space for Neymar and [Kylian] Mbappe too.

“Thanks to his past in Italy, he has acquired a great tactical understanding and is useful even defensively.

“There’s no need to worry. He has goals in his veins, sooner or later it will come.”

Verratti admitted he has enjoyed the tight Scudetto battle in Italy this term and claimed he never doubted Inter to develop under Antonio Conte.

“It’s difficult to compare [seasons]. The pandemic has affected everything, but it was certainly more exciting to follow from the outside.

“I had no doubts about the rise of Inter. Where Conte passes, there’s always progress. Until the break, Lazio were fighting for the title. Atalanta have grown even after the break.”

Lionel Messi has again been linked with a move to Inter and even if Verratti doesn’t think the move will materialise, he believes it proves that Serie A is again attracting the best players.

“To me, it only seems like rumours, but it’s proof that Serie A has returned to the top and attracts great champions again.

“It’s no coincidence that [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Romelu] Lukaku, [Franck] Ribery have chosen to come. And if a young player like [Matthijs] de Ligt has chosen our championship, it means there are good prospects.”