Mauro Icardi

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Mauro Icardi ‘not part of our plans,’ says Inter Milan CEO

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Mauro Icardi’s tumultuous time at Inter Milan might finally be coming to a close after Inter Milan chief executive officer Beppe Marotta revealed that the Argentine is “not part of our plans, with all due respect.”

[ MORE: Man United “in the process” of selling Paul Pogba ]

With a full rebuild already taking place under new manager Antonio Conte, Icardi’s long overdue departure from the club now seems only a matter of when, not if. Marotta left it in no uncertain terms and also cast aside midfielder Radja Nainggolan — quotes from Football Italia:

“When building a project, you have to find the right profiles. We had the opportunity to speak to the players themselves, with full respect for their contractual situations, but explained the position of the club, which I think is the most important thing.

“Both players know full well they are not part of our plans. That doesn’t mean we doubt their talent or capabilities, as I consider them to be two excellent players.

“Talent can win you games, but the squad wins you the league, which is the main objective we are setting out for. They are not part of our project, with all due respect.”

[ MORE: Barcelona president says Antoine Griezmann talks underway ]

Icardi is said to come with a price tag of nearly $70 million, which leaves only a handful of clubs with the financial means to sign him. The most likely scenario is that Icardi remains in Serie A, with Juventus and Napoli reportedly interested in strengthening their respective squads at the expense of a fellow top-three side.

Transfer rumor roundup: Neymar for Coutinho plus cash? Dembele to Liverpool?

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The rumors are plenty to finish the work week, so let’s dive right into the buzz around the Premier League summer.

The Rodri-to-City reports have been long-running, but that didn’t stop another team from trying a 23rd hour move for the Atletico Madrid midfielder.

Kicker in Germany reports that Bayern Munich tried to swoop into the picture and snatch the player away from Man City, but that Rodri remains sold on working with Pep Guardiola and the Premier League champions.

Barcelona’s hopes of acquiring Neymar for far less than what some say could be a $300 million transfer fee involves a part-swap deal.

AS says that Barca would offer Paris Saint-Germain $100 million plus Philippe Coutinho in exchange for Neymar’s services.

Given Neymar’s injury history and off-field issues, maybe PSG will jump at that and use the $100 million on one of the many players linked with the club this offseason. From Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi to Real’s James Rodriguez, that money would be useful.

And Barca is going to be selling any number of players this offseason, but would you believe they’d admit failure in the case of Ousmane Dembele?

Don Balon reports that Liverpool of all teams is ready to spend nearly $170 million on Dembele, giving them at-worst insurance and at-best a replacement for any moves made by Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah (who are widely reported as happy at Anfield).

Finally, Sky Sports says Inter Milan’s action on Romelu Lukaku could not happen until June 30 when Financial Fair Play sanctions relax on the Serie A unit.

United apparently wants around $90 million for the Belgian striker, while Inter is hoping to spend a little more than half of that figure.

Inter would also, Sky says, have to sell Mauro Icardi and there’s been little interest in the prolific but controversial striker. Not a huge surprise.

Spalletti calls Icardi’s feud with Inter ‘humiliating’

AP
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ROME (AP) Nearly two months after it started, the ongoing feud between Mauro Icardi and Inter Milan is making more noise than ever.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti let his fury run loose following a 1-0 loss at home to Lazio on Sunday that could be costly for the Nerazzurri’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule

Spalletti explained why he kept Icardi off Inter’s squad for the match, even though the striker had resumed training with the club over the international break – which followed a six-week exile after being stripped of the captaincy amid protracted contract negotiations.

“He could have played 20-30 minutes, even half a game, but that’s not the point,” Spalletti said. “Those who are in the locker room need to play. You need to have credibility in a group. … I’ve left players out for far less in my time. You must have respect and behave in the locker room.”

Spalletti added that it was “humiliating” for Inter’s fans that it required negotiations with Icardi’s lawyer “just to get him to pull on the shirt that they love.”

“Do I need to email 20 lawyers and ask them if I can call someone up?” Spalletti said.

Icardi last played for Inter on Feb. 9 in a 1-0 win at Parma. After he was stripped of the captaincy four days later, the 26-year-old Icardi had said he had a knee injury, although the club has said tests did not reveal any problem.

“It’s obvious for everyone to see what happened,” Spalletti said.

Inter remained third but is only two points ahead of city rival AC Milan, and five points ahead of rising Lazio (which has a game in hand) and Atalanta.

It remains to be seen if Icardi will return for Wednesday’s match at Genoa.

“If he continues to behave the way he has done recently, then he can start to come back in,” Spalletti said.

Wanda Nara, Icardi’s wife and manager, said her husband “is ready and it’s all down to the decision of the coach.”

TOTTI’S POSITION

Retired Roma captain Francesco Totti could be about to take on a greater role within the club’s management.

Totti has been a special ambassador for Roma since he stopped playing in 2017 following a 25-season career with his hometown club.

But with the recent departure of sporting director Ramon “Monchi” Rodriguez, Totti has been mentioned as a possible replacement.

“Everyone is talking about the possibility of a different role. We’ll see what happens in the future,” Totti said. “I can tell you that if I were to take on a new position, I would change some things. I’ve already spoken to the club about it, but this isn’t the right time to discuss it.”

Totti spoke before a 4-1 loss at home against Napoli on Sunday added another chapter to Roma’s season of discontent.

Roma was also recently eliminated from this season’s Champions League by Porto, which resulted in the firing of coach Eusebio Di Francesco, and routed 7-1 by Fiorentina in the Italian Cup.

“Everyone knows what’s gone wrong this season and that’s why we had to make changes,” said James Pallotta, Roma’s American president. “But the time for excuses is over. … No more alibis for anyone.”

JUVENTUS’ MAGIC NUMBER

Juventus needs to win only four more matches to clinch a record-extending eighth straight Serie A title.

If the Bianconeri compile the victories in succession they could celebrate another championship as soon as April 20 against Fiorentina.

That would give Juventus 90 points, which is the most that second-place Napoli could achieve – since Juventus holds the tiebreaker over Napoli.

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Icardi ends six-week exile at Inter as he resumes training

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MILAN (AP) Mauro Icardi has resumed training with his Inter Milan teammates, ending a six-week exile.

Icardi has not been on the field in more than a month, since being stripped of the captaincy amid protracted contract negotiations.

The 26-year-old Icardi has said he has a knee injury, although the club has said tests did not reveal any problem.

The Argentine forward returned to team training on Thursday with others who had not been called up for international duty.

Icardi could be called up for Inter’s next match on March 31, at home to Lazio in Serie A.

With 29 goals, Icardi was the joint top scorer in Serie A last season, sharing the honor with Ciro Immobile of Lazio. He has nine goals in 20 Serie A appearances this season.

Fellow Argentine Lautaro Martinez has stepped up in his absence, weighing in with four goals in his past nine matches.

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Serie A: Napoli let Juve’s lead get to 13; Inter win without Icardi

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Italy’s top flight…

[ FA CUP: Crystal Palace, Swansea reach quarterfinals (video) ]

Napoli 0-0 Torino

It’s not as if Juventus need the rest of Serie A to make it any easier for them to collect their eighth straight scudetto, but that’s exactly what the last remaining challengers did on Sunday, as second-place Napoli slumped to a 0-0 home draw with ninth-place Torino. What was an 11-point lead for Massimiliano Allegri’s side when the weekend began, is now a 13-point advantage which would require inarguably the greatest collapse in sports history to throw away with just 14 games left to play.

Inter Milan 2-1 Sampdoria

Mauro Icardi remains out of the Inter Milan squad, but the side won its first game since the Argentine was stripped of his captaincy and his future at the club came under serious question.

Danilo D’Ambrosio and Radja Nainggolan bagged Inter’s goals just five minutes apart, either side of Manolo Gabbiadini‘s equalizer in the 75th. The victory kept Inter four points clear of AC Milan in the race for third.

“I really appreciated that Icardi came to the stadium but I would have appreciated it even more if he had come into the dressing room afterward to celebrate with his teammates,” Inter coach Luciano Spalletti said after the game.

“To get back to normal there are more steps to be made, more efforts. Icardi has to experience with the team the happiness of being part of this group.”

Elsewhere in Serie A

Genoa 2-1 Lazio
SPAL 1-4 Fiorentina
Udinese 1-0 Chievo
Empoli 3-0 Sassuolo

Monday’s Serie A schedule

Roma v. Bologna — 2:30 p.m. ET