Icardi stripped of Inter Milan captaincy

Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta told Icardi of the decision

Mauro Icardi has had the Inter captaincy taken off him, leading to fresh doubt over his long-term future.

Icardi, 25, has captained the Serie A side since the start of the 2015/16 season but has now been replaced by goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, the club announced on Wednesday.

"The decision to remove the captain's armband from Icardi was hard and painful, because we all know what he is worth to the team", Spalletti told reporters at his pre-match press conference.

Inter want Icardi to sign a new deal, while the player's agent, and wife, Wanda Nara has publicly insisted there is no need to pen a fresh contract.

The Chinese-owned club crashed out of the Champions League and travel to Rapid Vienna for their Europe League round of 32, first-leg game on Thursday.

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

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

'Things around him have disturbed him and the team he captained.

The forward - joint top scorer in Serie A last season with 29 goals - has scored 15 this season in all competitions, but has gone seven Serie A games without a goal.

"I have not created any problems for Icardi", Spalletti told DAZN.

Icardi joined Inter in 2013 from Sampdoria, while Handanovic, 34, arrived in 2012 from Udinese.

"I would like Mauro to be more protected by the team".

Icardi is reported to have a €110-million release clause in his current contract, valid only for bids from clubs outside of Italy.



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