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Icardi Snubbed Europa League After Losing Captaincy, says Inter Coach

Icardi Snubbed Europa League After Losing Captaincy, says Inter Coach

Argentina forward Mauro Icardi refused to play in Inter Milan's Europa League game against Rapid Vienna this week after learning he had been stripped of the team's captaincy, coach Luciano Spalletti revealed on Wednesday.

Icardi was replaced as Inter captain in favour of goalkeeper Samir Handanovic on Wednesday because things around him were "disturbing him and the team," Spalletti said.

The 25-year-old has yet to sign a new contract as negotiations have stalled between the club and the player's wife Wanda Nara, who also acts as his agent.

"The club can confirm that Samir Handanovic is the new captain of the team," the Serie A outfit tweeted.

Spalletti later said: "The decision to remove the captaincy from Icardi was difficult and painful, absolutely shared by all the club members and taken for the good of Inter.

"He was called up for Vienna but he did not want to be there.

"Things around him have disturbed him and the team he captained. Now we have to focus all our attention on tomorrow's (Thursday) game.

"We hope the team will react in the right way. There will be others to talk about it further, but as far as I'm concerned, the question ends here."

Icardi -- valued at 100 million euros ($113 million) -- has a contract which runs until 2021, but he has been linked with a move away from Italy to Spanish giants Real Madrid or Chelsea in England.

The ex-Barcelona youth academy graduate joined Inter in 2013 from Sampdoria, and has scored 122 goals in 208 appearances.

The last seven Serie A games have drawn a blank for the player who scored a season's best 29 league goals in 2017-2018 and this campaign has 15 in all competitions.


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