Prolific and controversial Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi has turned down the club’s call-up to travel to Austria for Thursday’s Europa League Round of 32 first leg against Rapid Vienna.
Icardi was stripped of his captaincy earlier this week in the midst of a controversial season driven by contract negotiations led by his wife Wanda Nara.
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The couple have been at the center of Inter controversy for some time, with Football-Italia laying out an incredible timeline of drama which includes criticizing Inter’s ultras and name-dropping potential suitors outside of the club.
“It was him who didn’t want to join up with the team. He was called up. He was disappointed, but it was also difficult for us to make this decision and announce it to him. … We’ve made a decision at an appropriate time and one that was well thought-out, albeit one that was very painful. Things around him have disturbed him and the team he captained. Now we have to focus all our attention on tomorrow’s game.”
Icardi, 25, has scored 122 times with 26 assists since arriving from Sampdoria. He has 15 goals this season including markers against Spurs, Barcelona, AC Milan, and Roma, but is goalless in his last seven Serie A starts.
Longtime Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic is the new captain of the club.
In case there’s some understandable worry that we’re heaping too much criticism on the player and his agent-wife, remember that Nara left Maxi Lopez for Sampdoria teammate Icardi to start the relationship, then posted photos of Lopez’s children in Icardi jerseys before an Inter-Sampdoria match.