Since arriving at the San Siro Stadium back in 2013, Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi has rampantly risen to prominence and become one of the most clinical finishers in Europe.
The Argentine ace has been handed the captain’s armband at the club, following that €6.5 million move from fellow Italian top-flight outfit Sampdoria five years ago. Icardi is now recognised as one of the deadliest frontmen in the game, but his constant heroics in front of goal for his club have continued to be overlooked by his country.
At only 25 years of age, the Inter Milan marksman has the world at his feet, being the leading attacker at his current employers and having no shortage of desiring suitors when the summer transfer window opened.
The Serie A hitman was in typically brilliant form throughout the term for the Nerazzurri, as he ultimately finished another clinical campaign with 29 goals in all competitions during the course of 39 appearances.
His amazing tally saw him end as joint-top scorer in Serie A alongside Ciro Immobile, with his final season tally having included a four-goal haul against former club Sampdoria, a hat-trick over bitter local rivals AC Milan and six other brace-scoring games.
Such incredible goalscoring form surely would be enough to warrant a spot at the 2018 World Cup with your national side? Unfortunately, and bizarrely, not for Icardi.
The Inter Milan sharpshooter was part of qualifying squads during the run-up to the finals, but Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli weirdly opted to overlook the in-form finisher. Instead, the Argentina attacking line-up for Russia will be all of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, Juventus pair Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala and Manchester City goal-machine Sergio Aguero.
Argentina’s attacking ranks are already highly promising, with arguably the best player in history being involved in the form of Messi. But reports have suggested it’s the little maestro’s fault for Icardi being excluded, as the Inter forward isn’t part of his close-knit group of friends.
Rumours from Argentina have suggested that Messi’s presence has pushed the clinical Serie A poacher out of the fray, with Icardi having previously already admitted he didn’t expect to be part of proceedings for the summer’s biggest and best sporting event.
Argentina may boast a wealth of attacking talent, even in the absence of Inter Milan skipper Icardi, but their defence is far from encouraging ahead of the 2018 World Cup. That could eventually cost them, with their attacking options outweighing a weaker backline, but they should still have the ability to go deep into the competition.
As for Icardi, he has already jetted off on summer holidays in a bid to forget his national omission, and it’s unclear whether we will ever get to see the best of the Serie A goal-getter in an Argentina shirt.