Serie A giants Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi has refused to play for his team against Rapid Vienna in Europe League game on Thursday night after his captain armband has been removed recently.
Inter Milan have announced yesterday that their goalkeeper and long-serving player Samir Handanovic would replace Icardi as captain as Luciano Spalletti became concerned that the Argentine’s protracted contract talks have been the distraction for the player to lead the team.
The 25-year-old Argentine international forward still has two-and-a-half years left on his current deal at the San Siro, however, the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid have been strongly linked with a bid this summer amid reports that Inter Milan have failed to reach an agreement with players agent and wife Wanda Nara.
Spalletti revealed that Icardi had not taken the decision whether he will remain at San Siro or leave the club after the end of the season with the forward refusing to travel with the team to their Europe League 1/32 tie against Austria Viena.
“The decision to remove the captain’s armband from Icardi was difficult and painful, because we all know what he is worth to the team,” Spalletti told reporters at his pre-match press conference.
“But it was divided between all parts of the club and was made exclusively for the good of Inter. Obviously, he took it badly but there are things which disturb him and the team.”
The 25-year-old forward was given the captain’s armband back in 2015 he has been their top scorer for four consecutive times.
Argentina international forward is believed to be valued at £96m by Inter Milan and Chelsea will have to break the bank to lure him at Stamford Bridge.