(Credit: Racing Pasión)

Ever since stepping up as Mauro Icardi’s replacement at Internazionale, Lautaro Martinez has been turning a lot of heads all across the world thanks to his goal-scoring ability and youth.

Moreover, the Argentinean has been linked with a move to FC Barcelona over the last couple of months, with the team reportedly trying to find a suitable replacement for an aging Luis Suarez that may leave the club rather sooner than later.

And notably, Ernesto Valverde did little to put those rumors at ease, as he had nothing but praise for Lautaro when asked about the subject ahead of their UCL clash vs. Internazionale:

“He scored a great goal in the first game at the Camp Nou. I know he is comfortable with (Romelu) Lukaku, they’ve found the right mechanism to help Inter. As for Lautaro being similar to Luis Suarez, they are a little different but both are born goalscorers. But Inter have so many good players, Lautaro, Lukaku, (Milan) Skriniar…” Valverde claimed, as quoted by Bleacher Report.

The Catalans are set to face Internazionale without Lionel Messi, who’ll stay in Spain to rest and prepare for El Clasico, and Valverde was quick to shut down any rumors about a potential injury or lingering pain:

“Messi is getting rest. Nothing more. We come from important games and we have important games (coming up) and I have decided that some players do not come. Last year we played a great game here – without Messi, by the way,” Valverde concluded.

Barcelona are comfortably sitting at the top of their Group with Internazionale and Borussia Dortmund training by 4 points, so there was no need to push Messi over the edge and risk him this Tuesday with the clash with Real Madrid right around the corner. Also, the Blaugrana will be without Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto for the same reason.