Icardi risks captaincy over fan slurs: – Zanetti
“We will take measures,” Inter’s vice-president and legendary former captain Javier Zanetti said amid a growing row surrounding the Argentina international on Sunday.
“The fans are crucial for us and everyone should respect them.”
Icardi may be Inter’s main source of goals, but comments in his recently-published biography ‘Sempre Avanti, la mia storia segreta’ (Forever onwards, my secret story) prompted the ‘ultra’ fans who usually occupy the Curva Nord (North End) of the club’s shared San Siro ground to demand he be stripped of the captaincy.
It followed Icardi’s description in his autobiography of a post-match altercation with ‘ultra’ supporters following a 3-1 defeat at Sassuolo in February 2015.
Icardi claims in the account he openly challenged ultra supporters after they snatched the shirt and shorts he had offered to a young Inter supporter and threw them back in his face.
Icardi said he was “hailed a hero” in the dressing room after the incident, claiming he had reminded the irate fans that he had “grown up in one of the areas of South America with the biggest crime rates”.
Icardi added: “How many are there (fans)? Fifty? One hundred? Two hundred? Ok, I will bring over 100 criminals from Argentina and they will kill them on the spot. Then we’ll see.”
Curva Nord fans dismissed Icardi’s account of the events and were so incensed they issued a statement to the Italian media on Sunday morning.
“Why such wretched fiction? We are shocked, this book is ridiculous and with regard to that incident it’s all lies,” said the statement.
“No more excuses. We considered him young, a bit daft (like many players), but deep down a decent lad. Instead, we have someone who should not be allowed to wear the Inter armband.
“Inter simply don’t deserve this. For us, you are finished. TAKE THE ARMBAND OFF, YOU CLOWN.”
Despite being Inter’s star man, the Serie A giants could give in to fans’ demands.
New Inter coach Frank De Boer recently reacted to Marcelo Brozovic’s social media gaffe by sidelining the Croatia midfielder for several games.
And Icardi could soon follow suit, according to Zanetti, a former Argentina international who played over 600 games for Inter.
From 1999 to his retirement in 2014, Zanetti wore the black armband and came to be known as ‘Il Capitano’.
Zanetti added: “We cannot accept this kind of behaviour from an employee of our club. After this match we will talk things over and see what happens.”
Icardi faced a barrage of jeers from the Curva Nord before and after kick-off at the San Siro, where he missed a first-half penalty as Inter were stunned 2-1 by Cagliari.