Mauro Icardi Profile
|Born||Feb 19, 1993|
One of the most talented strikers in Europe has taken on a new challenge in Paris with hefty competition for places. Mauro Icardi won't be fazed, though, and he hopes to keep up his scoring record.
Mauro Icardi is an Argentine striker who plays football for Paris Saint-Germain in France's Ligue 1. Previously, he played for Sampdoria and Inter Milan in Italy. Icardi was on the books of Barcelona as a youngster prior to joining Sampdoria.
Icardi was born in Rosario, Argentina, but moved to the Canary Islands at a young age. After his highly successful spell at Vecindario in Gran Canaria, Barcelona won the fight against bitter rivals Real Madrid to secure the young Icardi's services as an academy player.
Icardi's decision to move to Barcelona seemingly paid dividends as he was successful at Sampdoria. He scored 10 Serie A goals in 31 appearances for them during the 2012/13 season, although he was still a teenager at the time.
Mauro Icardi and Inter Milan
After his success at Sampdoria, Inter Milan signed Icardi for a reported fee of €6.5million for 50% registration rights.
Icardi made his official debut off the bench for the Nerazzurri on 25 August 2013. He hit the crossbar in a 2-0 win over Genoa at San Siro. On 14 September, he scored his first Serie A goal for Inter in a 1-1 draw with Juventus, who are among Inter's fiercest rivals.
Icardi was booed by Sampdoria fans before a match against his former club, but Inter won 4-0 and he scored a brace. He was booked for a gesture he made in response to supporter provocation after scoring.
Inter and Sampdoria's co-ownership of Icardi was terminated midway through 2014 for another €6.5million and Inter Milan officially became the sole owner of the Argentine striker.
Icardi was appointed captain of Inter ahead of the 2015/16 season, taking the place of Andrea Ranocchia.
After a 1-0 away win against Bologna on 28 October 2015, which saw Icardi score the only goal, he appeared to insinuate that his team-mates were not doing enough to create chances for him. He said to journalists: "In ten matches I've received four chances to score, and I've taken three. I think that is a good average."
Icardi was dropped for the following Serie A game against Roma, which Inter won 1-0. Head coach Roberto Mancini said his omission was for tactical reasons and urged the striker to improve.
He was linked with Manchester United early in 2016, but in October of that year, Icardi signed a new contract with Inter until June 2021, with a buyout clause of €110million.
Icardi enjoyed an incredible 2016/17 season with 24 league goals in 34 matches, and he was even more prolific in 2017/18 with 29 strikes in as many games. However, 2018/19 proved to be a less than ideal season for him.
Conflict between Inter and Icardi's camp - particularly his wife and agent, Wanda Nar - led to him being stripped of the captaincy in February 2019 with Samir Handanovic picking it up.
Icardi did not travel with the team to the subsequent UEFA Europa League game against Rapid Vienna.
Head coach Luciano Spalletti said: "The decision to remove the captaincy from Icardi was difficult and painful, absolutely shared by all the club members and taken for the good of Inter.
"He was called up for Vienna but he did not want to be there.
"Things around him have disturbed him and the team he captained. Now we have to focus all our attention on Thursday's game."
Icardi joined Paris Saint-Germain on loan on 2 September 2019.
Moving to PSG
Icardi scored 12 goals in 20 games during his first Ligue 1 season, which was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 31 May 2020, his loan move to PSG turned into a permanent transfer for a reported €60million and he committed to the French champions for four years.
Icardi faces stiff competition for playing time as he competes with the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. The 2019/20 season saw Icardi miss many of the early matches due to a positive COVID-19 test and subsequent injury, but still managed a healthy goal return in his early time at the club.
Despite his injury issues, Icardi still recorded three major honours in his first PSG season, helping the club to another Ligue 1 crown, a Coupe de France (French Cup) and Coupe de la Ligue (French League Cup). Icardi was an unused substitute as PSG missed out on their first Champions League title in the final, as Bayern Munich edged a tight encounter 1-0 in Lisbon.
Icardi's injuries would unfortunately continue at the start of the 2020/21 season, but he still managed to score twice in his first five appearances of the campaign.
International career with Argentina
Icardi chose to represent Argentina internationally despite the fact that he could have played for Italy. He turned down the Azzurri's advances at U-19 level and then did so again when senior national team coach Cesare Prandelli came knocking in 2013.
Icardi said: "I'm very grateful to Italian football for the opportunity it has given me, I'd also like to thank Prandelli for the nice words he expressed about me.
"But I have to be honest and sincere - I'm Argentine, I feel Argentine, and I've always dreamed of wearing the shirt of my nation. To actually do that would be the maximum for me."
Icardi has struggled to break into an Argentina national team packed with quality attacking players such as Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi.
Albiceleste legend Diego Maradona was quoted as calling Icardi a "traitor," but not because of him choosing Argentina over Italy, but rather because of his reported affair with Nara while she was romantically involved with then Sampdoria teammate Maxi Lopez.
Lopez refused to shake Icardi's hand in 2014, prior to Inter's 4-0 win over Sampdoria, and again in 2016, ahead of his Torino's 2-1 victory over the Nerazzurri.
"Unfortunately, these things happen, it depends on the ignorance of certain people," Icardi told Mediaset Premium during a half-time interview in the 2016 match.
"I gave my hand, I am polite."
There was speculation in 2016 that star player Lionel Messi's friendship with Maxi Lopez was behind Icardi being overlooked by the Argentine national team, but this was denied.
Edgardo Bauza, the Argentina head coach at the time, said in an interview with Fox Sports: "When Messi sees something in the team he doesn't like, he says so, but it doesn't hurt the team.
"It is not true what is said that there are players who cannot be selected because they are not liked by the group.
"If I want to select him [Icardi] I will, but today he is below Higuain and Pratto."
Icardi's precise net worth is unclear, but according to a Daily Express article in August 2020, he is paid a reported £175,000 ($238.000) per week.