Mauro Icardi is certainly no stranger to controversy but the striker’s recently released autobiography has landed him in hot water with Inter Milan’s ultras and could see the 23-year-old stripped of the club’s captaincy.
After starting the season in sensational form and penning a bumper new deal with Inter, Mauro Icardi could hardly have hoped for a better start to the new campaign. In spite of his controversial tabloid history the former Barcelona academy product was being tipped for an Argentina call-up and yet when Inter took to the field on Sunday for the Serie A clash with Cagliari, a banner unfurled by the club’s ultras dominated the headlines.
“Icardi: You use a child to justify yourself and fling mud at us… You’re not a man… You’re not a Captain… You are just a vile piece of shit,” read the banner.
As Inter slumped to defeat against a struggling Cagliari side, Icardi missed a penalty that was actually cheered by his own supporters and the captain was jeered throughout leading to doubts other whether he can continue to wear the armband.
The reason for the ultras anger dates back to an incident in February 2015 that Icardi has shone new light on his autobiography, released last week.
Following defeat to Sassuolo, supporters called the team over to pay their respect and when several players threw their shirts into the crowd, they were thrown back in a display of frustration that led to a confrontation led by Icardi and a group of the ultras.
“The fans start to shout: they call us to come over to their section. I find the courage to face them, along with [Freddy] Guarín,” explained Icardi.
“As I get closer, I receive insults and abuse of every kind. Attached to the netting is a kid who calls me: he wants my shirt. Considering his age, he could be my son: I take off my shirt and shorts and throw them to him, as a gift. This kid is in seventh heaven and I am pleased to see him so happy.
“A head of the ultras jumps on him to take away the shirt and throws it back at me. This is when I start insulting him: ‘Piece of shit, you are acting all arrogant with a little kid to show off to the rest of the curva? Do you think you’re hard?’
“In the locker room I am acclaimed as a hero, because nobody had ever faced off that way with one of the fan leaders.”
Icardi then goes on to say that he grew up in Rosario, “one of the areas of South America with the highest crime rates,” and dismisses the ultra group, Curva Nord stating, “How many are there? 50? 100? 200? Okay, I will bring over 100 criminals from Argentina and they will kill them on the spot. Then we’ll see.”
Understandably the Curva Nord are furious at Icardi’s revelations and have demanded that he is stripped of the captaincy. In a statement on their website, the ultras said:
“Icardi, as far as we are concerned, you’re finished. We are horrified, that book is ridiculous and with regards to that incident there are only lies.
“We don’t want to go back over that day when his own teammates hauled him back by the neck to demand a less arrogant attitude towards the Inter population.
“It is pathetic to read such things talking about us. He talks about helping little kids, then invents an incident that never happened to make himself seem superior to us, as if it weren’t obvious to all that we are the only Curva that helps kids design the choreography in the stands.
“We merely ask for effort and honesty, while he depicts us as threatening figures, so evidently something is wired wrong in his head. An individual like this does not deserve the captain’s armband.
“There are no more excuses. We considered him young, a bit of an idiot (like many), but deep down a good lad. Instead this is an individual who cannot be allowed to wear the Inter armband. It’s not for us, but Inter simply don’t deserve this.
“You are finished with us. You’re done. Take the armband off, you clown. Yes, that is what we demand.”
Icardi has attempted to downplay the incident in a post on his Instagram account stating, “The captain’s armband represents the realisation of my childhood dreams, the joy that I gave first of all to my family and then to myself. You are the ones who I look out for every Sunday after scoring a goal, it is your embrace I seek first, because I love Inter.”
However, it may be too late and vice-president Javier Zanetti suggested that action will be taken against the 23-year-old.
Icardi’s fellow Argentine and previous Inter captain told reporters prior to the Cagliari defeat, “Will we be taking action? Unfortunately yes. The fans are the most important element, they follow us and we all should always respect them. We cannot accept this behaviour from a person who works for our club. After this match we will talk things over and see what happens.
“Will we remove the captain’s armband? We’ll talk about it later, but this is an issue not just for Icardi, but for everyone who is part of the club. Behaviour must be in line with the values of the history of Inter.”
It remains to be seen what the outcome will be but Icardi’s relation with the ultras appears dangerously severed.
Quotes taken from The Mirror article by Adam Digby