CAPTAIN, WHERE ARE YOU? Inter call on its captain Mauro Icardi to steer this club back on track
Six. It indicates the number of matches without scoring a goal for Mauro Icardi, a record for him and perhaps the biggest reason why Inter are in crisis because after winning against Napoli and Empoli to close 2018, Inter have only managed to get 2 points out of Chievo, Sassuolo, Torino and Bologna. Love will last through tough times and it will not change the club’s plans for its captain. The crisis will not shift the march towards a contract extension: it goes on without stopping and the next meeting with Wanda is on the horizon.
Let’s go back to December when Inter were eliminated from the Champions League, the same Inter which enjoyed on that evening the last Icardi’s goal from open play. Since then, only penalties, a few shots here and there and some controversy, like the one about his renewal that broke out between the game against Udinese and Chievo. So naturally, there is a hypothesis that this ongoing contract negotiation has been bothering Mauro Icardi even though that Giuseppe Marotta said it yesterday that “contract talk has not affected Mauro, it must not to a player like him because in his career, he will have many more extensions. This is an aspect managed by his wife and so he must feel comfortable and focused. He is the protagonist of a great team and his goals will contribute in victories.”
It is the CEO of Inter who calls the club captain to overcome personal and team difficulties. Inter are no longer dangerous on the pitch. The team of Spalletti averaged 1.5 points per game until Empoli and in the last three, that average has gone down to just 0.78, almost half. This is a team that is not producing great scoring opportunities and that is certainly not helpful at all to Icardi.
Inter are asking their best striker to turn things around, perhaps with a bit less social media and of course more scoring. There is no need to go back to the past episodes but the captain’s armband has a certain weight to it that must manifest itself on these occasions. “Icardi is giving us his maximum commitment,” said Marotta. “Mauro has proven in the past to be a goalscorer and he can still improve and he will. The highs and lows happen to all players but they are more visible when it comes to strikers who are always judged by the number of goals.” And judging him on the last period can only be negative: particularly when he was late returning from holidays in Argentina. Icardi has been at Inter since 2013 and just one step away from overcoming Vieri in the ranking of goalscorers in Inter history. He has significantly higher experience than being a 26-year-old (in two weeks). Today is February 5th and it is up to him and Spalletti to lead Inter to a turning point.