Inter Milan have confirmed that Samir Handanovic has replaced the unsettled Mauro Icardi as their new captain and removed the latter from their Europa League squad.
The Argentine striker has been locked in talks with Inter for the past few months over a new deal with his agent and wife, Wanda Nara, announcing she was “100%” sure that the renewal will be done.
Despite being contracted at the San Siro until June 2021, however, Icardi has been linked with a return to Barcelona along with a transfer to arch-rivals Real Madrid.
The 25-year-old’s future at Inter has been increasingly in doubt of late with reports in Italy suggesting that Icardi is seeking €9m a year in salary.
Not helping matters is the Argentina international’s current struggles in front of goal with just two goals in his last nine appearances for Inter.
Now the Nerazzurri have removed Icardi from his role as captain after three years in favour of goalkeeper Handanovic.
“The club can confirm that Samir Handanovic is the new Inter captain,” read a statement on Twitter.
The Italian side didn’t give any explanation for their decision to strip Icardi of captaincy, but manager Luciano Spalletti had expressed his frustration over the saga following Inter’s 1-0 win over Parma on Saturday.
“I have not created any problems for Icardi,” Spalletti told DAZN.
“Issues need to be clarified, because when you leave things half-cooked, they become open to interpretation.
“People have said a few too many things, now there is time to sit down and talk about something we’ve avoided and dragged along with us for months.”
Despite being seen training for Inter’s Europa League last-32 first-leg clash at Austrian side SK Rapid Vienna, Icardi has also found himself left out of the squad for the trip.
The match between Rapid Vienna and Inter will take place on Thursday at the Allianz Stadion with kick-off set for 9:00 PM (CET).
— Inter (@Inter) February 13, 2019