MILAN, ITALY - DECEMBER 15: Mauro Icardi of FC Internazionale celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and Udinese at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 15, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images )

Javier Zanetti is optimistic Mauro Icardi will be back for Inter’s Europa League last-16 tie with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Icardi’s future has been marred by issues with his contract extension and losing the captaincy to shot-stopper Handanovic.

Speaking after Friday’s draw in Nyon, Zanetti revealed the embattled striker will return to the fold for the last 16 clash as he expects a tough outing ahead.

“German teams are always hard to beat, so we’ll have to work hard to go through,” the Nerazzurri icon told Football Italia.

“Are we favourites? Inter must always try to go all the way in any competition, while in the knowledge that there are other strong teams.

“We’ll try, the conditions for doing well are in place. Inter have improved a lot in recent games and I’m convinced that we can pull through.”

Zanetti was then asked about Icardi, who continues to be unavailable for the Beneamata.

Icardi resumes training with Inter Milan

Mauro Icardi has returned to first-team training with his Inter Milan team-mates, ending his self imposed six-week exile. The Argentine striker trained at Appiano Gentile for...

“Mauro’s an important player for us,” added the striker’s compatriot.

“We hope to have him back for this tie. I believe that when there are problems in the dressing room, you have to solve them internally.

“This group can get stronger and stronger. I’d like us to create the conditions so we can keep winning.

“I’m sorry for the situation that has arisen, but I repeat: it must be clarified with the first thought being the good of the team.

“Captain again? The decision wasn’t taken lightly, so I don’t think it’ll change. I haven’t talked to him yet.

“I’d like to let some time pass first but I reiterate, the team comes first.”