Chelsea target Mauro Icardi 'refusing to play for Inter Milan'

Ryan Nolan tackles Spurs forward and fellow Republic of Ireland youth international Troy Parrott during a UEFA Youth League match between Tottenham and Inter last November

Ryan Nolan tackles Spurs forward and fellow Republic of Ireland youth international Troy Parrott during a UEFA Youth League match between Tottenham and Inter last November

Mauro Icardi has been stripped of the Inter Milan captaincy amid protracted talks over a new contract.

Inter have replaced Mauro Icardi with Samir Handanovic as captain amid increased uncertainty over the Argentina striker's future.

Spalletti said: 'The decision to remove the captaincy from Icardi was hard and painful, absolutely shared by all the club members and taken for the good of Inter.

But that record has not always translated into a glowing relationship between the striker and his club, with directors and fans alike at times exasperated by the behaviour of Icardi and wife and agent Wanda Nara.

"Icardi was called up, and has decided not to travel to Vienna", the coach explained to Sky Sport.

Icardi has a contract with the Nerazzurri until 2021 but continues to be linked with a move, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United all having been credited with an interest.

"Inter have an important game on Thursday", Spalletti told the press.

"But it was divided between all parts of the club and was made exclusively for the good of Inter".

Sources in Italy say that Icardi's team-mates no longer see him as a captain.

It is understood that the decision was a mutual one between the Serie A club and manager Luciano Spalletti. He has not scored in Serie A for seven games.

"There are clearly things going on around Icardi which need to be sorted out", Spalletti said.

The Slovenia worldwide, 34, joined Inter from Udinese in 2012 while Icardi arrived from Sampdoria in 2013, taking over as captain from Andrea Ranocchia in 2015. Reports have suggested that the 25-year-old has been discussing a new contract with the club for months, yet no renewal has materialised as of yet.

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