Icardi will return to the starting lineup for the game against Genoa on Wednesday which will be live on ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET, having not featured for the first team since being stripped of the captaincy ahead of a Europa League clash with Rapid Vienna in February.
And despite returning to training ahead of Sunday’s clash top four rivals Lazio following weeks of negotiations between Icardi’s lawyer and Inter director Beppe Marotta, Spalletti did not include the forward in the squad as he was not yet ready to play. However, he will start Wednesday’s clash with Genoa.
“Mauro Icardi has been included [in the squad],” Spalletti said in a prematch news conference. “Marotta’s work has been integral in ensuring everyone came together in a real discussion, not a virtual one.
“In the context of our team, Icardi is worth more than Messi and Ronaldo put together. He is now in a position to help the team. We start third in the table with all of our talent available, and that will allow us to go all the way in our objective of qualifying for the Champions League.
“Icardi will start. He has had the right reaction from a mental point of view, which is more important than the physical side. We will see how long he can stay on the pitch or if we need to sub him off.”
With Lautaro Martinez injured for the Lazio clash, Spalletti started with winger Keita Balde in attack, and Inter were beaten 1-0. The result means Inter’s lead over the Biancocelesti is now six points, having played a game more.
However, Icardi’s return to the first team was criticised by Inter’s main ultra group Curva Nord, who released a statement, entitled: “Onwards with Inter fans, Icardi get lost!!!”
In it, they claim “the behaviour of the Nerazzurro No. 9 means he should never again be a starter,” and “the position of the Nord is that Icardi is no longer part of Inter and from now on will be treated that way.”
Inter declined to comment when contacted by ESPN FC.
This is not the first time Icardi has clashed with Inter’s supporters. Banners were unfurled criticising him in 2016 following comments about a confrontation with fan groups in his autobiography.