Monday March 11 2019
The Icardi Conundrum

Before Eintracht Frankfurt and Milan, Football Italia’s Chief Correspondent Richard Hall asks if, given the option, Inter should recall Mauro Icardi?

Lautaro Martinez showed a wry smile as he saw his goal chalked off by VAR for handball. San Siro had erupted when his divine finish looked to have given the home side the lead, in turn offering up images of a new matador. Inter came through the match against SPAL with a well-earned 2-0 victory although it was at a cost. As Roberto Gagliardini and Matteo Politano emerged from the smoke holding the Nerazzurri flag, they looked back on a field of casualties, injuries and suspensions.

Inter are entering into probably their most important week of the season. The Derby Della Madonnina not only will help decide the battle for third place, but is also a continual assessment of two rival projects. A lot has changed in a short period of time and the Rossoneri are now on the march under Gennaro Gattuso’s banner and looking stronger by the minute.

Before this however, the Europa League Round of 16 provides a mouth-watering tie at San Siro. Tied 0-0 after the first leg with Eintracht Frankfurt, the winner of arguably the hardest tie of the round will certainly be amongst the favourites to win the competition.

As it stands, Lautaro Martinez and Kwadwo Asamoah are suspended for the Europa League, whilst Miranda (fractured nose), Radja Nainggolan (calf injury) and Marcelo Brozovic (muscular problem) are out with injury. With several others struggling for fitness, not to mention the fact Dalbert, Roberto Gagliardini and Joao Mario are not on the UEFA list, these ties look even more daunting.

Perhaps what is even worse is that both Frankfurt and Milan have strikers who are lethal and in form, offering a chilling reminder to fans of the Nerazzurri on the importance of a seasoned goal-scorer.

In all competitions this term, Luka Jovic has netted 21 goals in 35 games, including six in nine in the Europa League. The on-loan striker from Benfica has a scoring rate this term that is similar to what Inter expect from Icardi most seasons and there is no doubt he will again be the main threat when the Nerazzurri welcome the Germans to San Siro this week.

Milan’s Krzysztof Piatek scored what was to prove to be the winner against Chievo on Saturday. This was his 19th goal of the season (for Genoa and Milan) moving him level with Cristiano Ronaldo and one behind Fabio Quagliarella.

It is easy to see that if Inter crash out of the Europa League and lose the Derby, Icardi’s absence will be held up being an influential reason for the debacle. To some extent this is true, as he is a major asset to the team, but the continual soap opera that surrounds him is still rumbling on. The amount of ‘back and forth’ that has gone on with this issue could furnish research for a novel and none of it has been professional.

The club have been guilty of allowing this to develop, Icardi and is wife/agent would perhaps admit that they have made errors of judgment in their public game and Luciano Spalletti has never been a dab hand at dealing with the superstar egos in his team. Even the players have been guilty for antagonising the situation.

It is here that Inter’s conundrum lies today. “Mauro wants to stay at Inter, I’m working to make him feel good and make peace with the club. We also chose a lawyer who’s an Inter fan, Mauro wants to continue his career at Inter. We hope everything will be resolved as soon as possible,” Wanda said on live television last night. With this news sounding like a resolution may be in hand, Spalletti could have a decision to make.

Should Mauro Icardi declare himself fit to play, should Luciano Spalletti put him back into the starting XI in the Europa League against Frankfurt or perhaps in the Derby? One can only assume what the mood in the dressing room is, but does necessity outweigh the possibility of harmony? Is it simply an absolute must that he plays if fit? After all, how many dressing rooms have had players who were not even on speaking terms? The answer is many.

Perhaps the timing from the Icardi camp is actually quite Machiavellian, as he has the opportunity to come back and instantly make himself a hero again. Watch this space.

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Have your say...
Inter went from a shoulda / coulda progressed / great return run in the Champions League to a dismal run in Europa League....ousted by a German team no where near Inters pedigree.
Toothless in attack, while their star player who’s clearly staging a boycott with his troublesome wife.
How can the club owners even stand it ?
Icardi should be dumped on the spot. Sell him for whatever they can get him for.
Use that and gabigol $$ and their deep pockets to buy Lukaku and another top striker.
on the 14th March, 2019 at 10:41pm
I am ashamed that Inter represent Serie A in Europe. What a loser team. Losing to Frankfurt at home says it all. They don't belong in Europe. No money, no good players. Only Juve are the pride of Italy. Napoli a little bit.
If it wasn't for Juve there would only be 3 cl spots for Serie A.
Remenber to thank them Inter.
on the 14th March, 2019 at 10:41pm
The perfect moment to re-introduce Icardi is in an away match. He will inevitably get some boos from Inter fans on his return but it won't be so deafening away from home, and it allows him to redeem himself quickly with a goal or two and that should always help bridge the animosity with fans and the club.

Icardi played this all wrong and he and Wanda are to blame - but Inter also need to increase his value going into the summer and his impending exit.
on the 14th March, 2019 at 3:33pm
Just beat Frankfurt and Milan and stop the nonsense!
Forza Inter
on the 13th March, 2019 at 8:42pm
Here’s an idea....why not hook up Icardi to a lie detector machine. See if he’s really injured. Seriously.
Ask if he still wants to play for Inter.
Cuz to me, an outsider... he looks like a total piece of crap,and is makeing The entire Inter club/ franchise/ mgmt look like a joke.
Fire this guy stat. Save some face.
Or better yet send goons to really break his knee cap.
It’s so cringey sad what this club has sunk to in less than 1 season after FINALLY back in CL.
let em both go do reality tv.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 5:03am
You Interist should just sell Icardi because you have a future superstar waiting to play his position: GABI-ONE-GOL ! 29.5 million euros and he's still tied for goals with the back-up goalie for least let him score as many goals for Inter as Tomasso Rocchi did ! Give him a chance, he's the future of Inter and only Inter fans think he's good so it's a win-win !!
on the 12th March, 2019 at 8:31pm
Let him play when he is READY to play.
I have some doubts he would be ready for Thursday or for the derby considering that he was not training for a month now.

Let him play at the end of the season, pushing up his price-tag back where it was. Because now, it is nowhere near. I highly doubt any club's management would invest in Icardi + Wanda 110M Euro, not to mention the 10M/year as a wage...
on the 12th March, 2019 at 7:16pm
His wife is a problem. She is not cut for this business.
on the 12th March, 2019 at 12:37pm
A top pro player represented by a spouse or parents always fails. Too many conflicts of interest. Icardi is to blame for acting like a selfish child, Spalletti is to blame for the dressing room getting to this point, & for not "coaching" Icardi on how to be better captain. He could have intervened *before* the decision - no surprises. Icardi should be sold for a large return. We can do better. Spalletti should be replaced with a better coach. Inter have looked out of ideas too often this year.
on the 12th March, 2019 at 2:20am
What is a soldier who deserts his post during battle? Who fakes injury to save his own skin while abandoning his comrades under enemy fire?

Serie A, Inter and its fans did much to help Icardi rehab his image post-adultery, even when many felt he did the unforgivable. He's replied with contempt. What club now wwould want him in their locker roomm?
on the 12th March, 2019 at 12:23am
Its becoming clear that inter mgmt are beyond annoyed and frustrated at this situation. Mostly because beppe was brought in for this specific situation to not happen. The irony is unpardonable. Inter management is negotiating on how to bring back its top player with the least amount of media scrutiny and embarrassment as possible, where likely each side will take on a bit of the blame. Meanwhile, Juve is playing a massive 2nd leg to AM and Napoli is cruising through the EL.
on the 11th March, 2019 at 8:19pm
Depends on his mentality. If he's hungry, I'd sub him on - give him some breadcrumbs, tell him he's valued, and have him put in some good performances. That would increase his saleable value, since every scout must be looking at him.

If he doesn't play it will lower his perceived value. I'd only do this if he is being a suck or training terribly.

Inter must sell him in my view so should selfishly select the option that would maximize their profits (and Icardi's options).
on the 11th March, 2019 at 8:01pm
This whole idiotic mess with Wanda and the primadonna Icardi Is basically a slap in the face of Inter. I, as a Juventus fan, am a happy-chappy, because Inter can continue shooting themselves in the head as long as they want, whilst we keep winning. Ciao idioti d'Milano!
on the 11th March, 2019 at 6:06pm

Best striker in Italy?....
on the 11th March, 2019 at 5:55pm
To make things interesting.. In the last 10 Serie A games with Icardi,Inter have won 4 games, lost 3 and draw 2.We have scored total of 5 goals in 10 games. Icardi scored one goal during that 10 game span.Since he was sacked from the armband, Inter have played 4 Seria A games. scored 8 goals, won 2, lost 1, and draw one. Icardi does not make this team better, in contrast,Inter plays better without Icardi and Lautaro work rate is better than Icardi. Dont let him play the Derby.
on the 11th March, 2019 at 4:49pm
on the 11th March, 2019 at 3:33pm
Mauro and Wanda are perfect for each other: two garbage peas in a trash pod.
on the 11th March, 2019 at 2:51pm
As a life long Inter Fan, I am ready to let go of Icardi this summer. He has proven that when things don't go his way, he is more concerned with pouting than proving his doubters wrong. He is definitely no captain as he has demonstrated for the past few weeks, if not the past couple years. Inter do need him the rest of the season however, especially with our FFP induced smaller squad in Europe and our current injury/suspension crisis. He may be a child, but hes still the best striker in Italy
on the 11th March, 2019 at 2:03pm
No player is bigger than the club, and it will be really silly on the part of inter to jeopardize a team for an individual. Football is a team game not individualized sport like lawn tennis as such Icardi has ridiculously presume that without him there is no inter of which ever since he was out of the team, they have been winning.....he is an asshole
on the 11th March, 2019 at 12:10pm
They're so short now that they have little option but to start with him.

He's been the best finisher in Italy for years, but his wife/agent seems to be of the modern me-me-me mentality, and that doesn't sit well in a team sport.

Generally, his attitude on the pitch has been OK, but his phantom injury shows he's going down the wrong road.

Time for him to quit listening to others and do what he's very well paid to do.

Inter are very short of players for the EL game especially, and need him now
on the 11th March, 2019 at 12:05pm
Thank you Wanda.
on the 11th March, 2019 at 11:21am

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