Mauro Icardi and PSG: A perfect fit

    The embattled Inter and Argentina striker has finally sealed a move away from Internazionale, taking a lot of problems off the hands of the club.

    His move to PSG has seen the odds for the club winning this season’s Champions League come into just 4/1 with many leading bookmakers and you can take advantage of the best casino loyalty programs if you can see Neymar and Icardi firing the Parisians to their first title.

    Since Icardi joined Inter from Sampdoria in 2013, rarely a week has gone by without Mauro Icardi making the headlines, both for his footballing ability and his proclivity for trouble. Despite being incredibly effective for them upfront – he racked up 111 goals in 188 appearances over six seasons – he’s done plenty to upset the whole of Italy and his home country of Argentina.

    People attribute the beginning of Icardi’s troubles to his meeting Wanda Nara, his wife and agent. The story surrounding their meeting is a dirty one, which has unfortunately not spilled over into his footballing talents, but has strained his football career and relationships with fans, coaches and teammates.

    In February 2015, he had a spat with Inter’s ultras (core fan support) when he threw his shirt to the crowd after a 3-1 loss to Sassuolo. The fans were not happy with Inter’s season and Icardi who was captain at the time, and expected some form of remorse after the loss. Instead, Icardi chose to do what he did and when they responded angrily, he had an exchange with them. This was the beginning of his issues with the fans.

    He would go on to have several rows with the fans, the biggest happening in 2016 when he published his autobiography, challenging the fans from the 2015 incident to a fight.

    “I’m ready to face them one by one,” the book reads. “Maybe they don’t know that I grew up in one of the South American neighbourhoods with the highest rates of crime and people killed in the street.

    “How many of them are there? Fifty? A hundred? Two hundred? OK, record my message and let them hear it. I will bring 100 criminals from Argentina who will kill them on the spot.”

    Although the pages were taken off from the final copy which was circulated worldwide, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Inter fans never stopped calling for the captaincy to be taken off him, and even his goalscoring exploits were underappreciated despite him going from strength to strength and taking them back into the Champions League. Fans back home in Argentina, who still haven’t gotten over the dirty incident that brought him and Wanda together, were even more disgruntled as the statement put their country in a bad light.

    In February 2019, Inter finally stripped him of the captaincy and handed it over to goalkeeper Samir Handanovic and that signalled the beginning of the end of Mauro Icardi’s Inter career.

    Icardi, who began his footballing career at La Masia, the youth system of Barcelona, developed into one of the most prolific strikers in Europe while at Inter, earning him links to all of the top teams in the world. Icardi won the Capocannoniere (award for Serie A’s highest goal scorer) in the 2014/15 and 2017/18 seasons and currently ranks as the club’s eighth highest goalscorer of all time. Icardi is a tactically intelligent striker with good attacking movement and positioning, also possessing an eye for goal. He is an accurate and efficient finisher with his head and both feet inside the box, possessing a quality to shoot from any angle after a few touches. He has been criticized in the past for his off the ball movement but recent seasons have seen him improve in this aspect of his play, as he now drifts wide to create chances for his other teammates to score.

    While, by all accounts, he wants to stay in Serie A with Inter, he has now been unveiled as a PSG player and will deputise for Edinson Cavani (with a view to replacing him – the deal is a season loan with a purchase option) in the team. He has definitely made them stronger, as his addition to the team means that the Paris club now have in their books some of the best attackers in world football, but most importantly, he has also found a new beginning, free from the hostile environment he created in Italy where he can focus on his football and hone his talents even more, as he possesses devastating potential.

    Although PSG are no stranger to controversial players, having dealt well enough with Hatem Ben Arfa, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and currently, Neymar, Icardi brings with him a different kind of trouble in his wife and agent, Wanda Nara. But unlike Inter, PSG is run very much like a business and the president of the club, business mogul Nasser Al-Khelaifi, is better poised to deal with troublesome players and agents who may try to disrupt the club’s dynamics.

    Asides from the ability of the club’s leadership to handle him and his wife/agent, PSG has in their books some of the world’s biggest superstars, even bigger than Icardi. No matter the size of the trouble that may follow him around, he will be easily dealt with in the dressing room by players with bigger star profiles.

    His move to PSG may just be what he needs to get his head in the game, and probably get the Argentina football association to look his way again. However, Inter will be missing a lot of goals with his departure and can only hope that Romelu Lukaku, his new replacement, proves to be equal or better than he was with the Nerazzurri.