Internazionale captain Mauro Icardi divides opinion amongst the club’s fan base, recently falling out with the Nerrazurri ultras after some controversial remarks towards them in his autobiography, titled ‘Sempre Avanti’ (Always Ahead). The comments have sparked outrage from the Inter ultras, who have called for the Argentine to be stripped of his captaincy.
The situation escalated rapidly when Icardi described an incident from 2014/15 season in his book, when Inter were beaten 3-1 away at Sassuolo. He and Fredy Guarin had walked over to face the ultras after the game, claiming to have handed his shirt to a small child before one of the ultras grabbed it off the child and threw it back at the players. “It’s a shame that a head Ultra flew over to him, took the shirt from his hands and threw it at me with disgust,” says Icardi in his book.
“So I started to insult him harshly. ‘Piece of sh**, you act the big man and all powerful with a little kid to show off in front of the Curva’,” described Icardi. If that depiction of Inter’s faithful wasn’t enough to outrage them, Icardi went on with quiet a bizarre claim. “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.”
It remains to be seen just how and why Inter allowed such ludicrous comments to be published, and they have not gone without repercussions. Inter’s ultras fired back by first denying the allegations of their actions that day at Sassuolo, saying, “Lies. Lies. Lies…The Inter captain cannot allow himself these kinds of remarks. An individual like this cannot wear the club’s armband.” Club director Piero Ausilio and vice-president Javier Zanetti responded, albeit somewhat slowly as they waited a full week, saying they intended to discuss the matter with cool heads.
Icardi event attempted some damage limitation prior to Inter’s home fixture with Cagliari, apologizing via social media, claiming he was ‘surprised, disappointed and lost his head’ as well as admitting to embellishment in his autobiography. That did nothing to prevent the negativity that hung in the air for all to see on Sunday, taking visual form from the Nerrazurri ultra’s banner. It read: “Icardi: you’re the bastard, making sh** up to sell more copies. You heinous mercenary.” The banners inside the stadium were one thing, but Inter ultras went one step further and showed they are not to be messed with, travelling to Icardi’s house to display this message: “We are here, let us know when your Argentinian friends arrive.”
Some Inter fans tried to drown out the ultra’s heckling of Icardi on Sunday by applauding their captain. It was only fitting that Icardi would step up to take a penalty after Inter were awarded one in a strange manner, the match official waiting some 15 seconds before making the call. Icardi fired wide of the target, Inter going on to lose 2-1 to Cagliari.
The club have recently released a statement ensuring Icardi’s captaincy will remain intact, but that he will be fined for the comments he made about the club’s fans in his autobiography. Icardi recently signed a five-year deal with Inter, but questions must be asked about his long-term future following this disastrous falling out with his own side’s fans.