For millions of Inter fans across the world, the last 24 hours have proved to be rather tumultuous. Mauro Icardi has been stripped of his role as team captain as he once again finds his future at the club clouded in uncertainty. Indeed, the Argentine striker has also been omitted from the Nerazzurri squad which travelled to Austria to face Rapid Vienna in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 tomorrow night. Yes, the black and blue half of Milan once again finds itself in a state of absolute chaos.
Icardi has not scored a goal from open play since late October, so it is more than reasonable to assume that the ongoing rumours surrounding the renewal of his contract are having an adverse effect on his performances. Therefore, with MI9 potentially losing the respect of certain members of the dressing room, rewarding Samir Handanović for his loyalty by giving him the armband is in fact a very wise decision. Of course, Luciano Spalletti and his players certainly could have done without another episode of controversy on the eve of what is a vital match as far as Inter’s season in concerned.
It has been far from plain sailing for Beppe Marotta since he took office as CEO sport last year, as this is just the latest in a long line of negative issues around the club he has been forced to deal with. Between Ivan Perišić handing in a transfer request towards the end of the January transfer window and Radja Nainggolan’s off-field disciplinary problems, there is no doubt that Inter is a club in turmoil. Ironically, it seems that the Croatian is one of the key players with whom Icardi’s relationship has completely broken down.
Put simply, nothing the soap opera world has to offer comes close to what is currently unfolding in Appiano Gentile. The pressure on the likes of Marotta and sporting director Piero Ausilio is immense and they most definitely will not have taken the decision to strip their most valuable player of the captaincy lightly. Make no mistake, the saga will rumble on for a while yet. Despite everything, there is still a chance that differences will be put aside and Icardi could yet put pen to paper on a new long-term deal.
It seems that the reckless actions of his agent-wife Wanda Nara have caused a split in the dressing room, with several of Icardi’s teammates said to be furious by what they view as a lack of respect for the club they represent. In terms of the here and now, Icardi has rejected the opportunity to play for Inter tomorrow night in Vienna and he will be dealt with by the powers that be in the coming days. A firm hand is what’s needed and hopefully, given time, Marotta will prove to be the perfect man to steer the Nerazzurri through their latest storm.
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