Given the lack of affection he received in the past 12 months, it was not surprising that Mauro Icardi moved to Paris in search of love. What’s even more surprising is that he found it so quickly.
Icardi joined Paris Saint-Germain on a rental basis for an Inter Milan season in September in September and has since scored seven goals in seven games, keeping Edinson Cavani out of the game and spurring a new storyline after the summer transfer saga around Neymar.
Under normal circumstances, its impact should come as no surprise at all. After all, scoring goals is what Icardi is best at. He scored 124 of them in 219 games for Inter before his career came to a controversial stop last season.
Mauro Icardi got off to a flying start at PSG after scoring seven goals in his first seven games
Icardi joined PSG on a season-long loan from Inter after a controversial 2018-19 season
Icardi only scored 11 goals in 29 games – his worst return since the 2014-15 season
Over the course of 12 months, Icardi was deprived of the captaincy after failing to negotiate a new contract, then retired with former club coach Luciano Spalletti, who withdrew from Inter’s pre-season tour of Asia and was subsequently told by supporters and the club’s CEO, Giuseppe Marotta, that he would never play for the club again.
But where did it all go wrong for a 26-year-old with one of the best goal records in Europe and how did he change the story so quickly?
Icardi’s problems started when he entered into a relationship with the Argentinian model Wanda Nara in 2013. The story caught fire when Nara was the wife of the striker’s former Sampdoria teammate, Maxi Lopez, with whom she had three children. She later divorced Lopez, and Icardi revealed in his 2016 book that their relationship started when Nara was still married.
Icardi is married to the ex-wife of his former Sampdoria teammate Maxi Lopez, Wanda Nara
Icardi sparked controversy after revealing that their relationship started when she was married
The couple’s frequent posts on social media have often been criticized in Italy and Argentina
Since then, the love triangle between Icardi, Nara and Lopez has been played in public. In 2013, Sampdoria’s clash with Inter was nicknamed ‘The Wanda Derby’, as the former teammates met for the first time since the revelations. Before the game, Icardi and Nara had each other’s names tattooed on their wrists and posted pictures of them with Lopez’s kids, who later asked them to quit in an interview about Sky Sport in Italy.
As both teams lined up for the game, Lopez Icardi refused to shake hands, who was now firmly cast in the role of villain in both Italy and his home country of Argentina.
Still, the striker seemed to enjoy the hostility of the occasion and celebrated the opening goal in a 4-0 win by sprinting to Sampdoria’s Ultras in the Gradinata Sud standings. It was an act of complacency that earned him a yellow card and a public scolding of former Inter boss Walter Mazzarri.
When asked about Icardi after the game, he said: ‘If he goes on like this and we manage to get rid of some of his excesses, he will become a great player, an attacker with all the real qualities of a striker.
“To the goal, he carried himself perfectly. He should have returned to our side of the field afterwards and hadn’t made that gesture, even though it didn’t seem like a big deal to me. ‘
In the five years since the scandal, Icardi became Inter’s eighth highest scorer of all time
In 2018, Icardi was named Italy’s best player in the past 12 months
It turned out to be prophetic words. In the five years that followed, Icardi developed into one of the deadliest strikers in Europe and took on the responsibility of being club captain after getting the bracelet in 2015 when he was just 22.
His leadership earned the loyalty of Inter fans, and his goals brought the club to the Champions League for the first time in six years in 2018. With his 26th position, he is the eighth highest goalscorer in club history.
But while the goals haven’t dried up, the controversial streak in his character and the impact of his relationship with his now-wife have refused to go away. Icardi won only eight international matches for Argentina and was shut out of their 2018 World Cup squad, despite scoring 29 goals that season.
His omission and continued absence from the national side has been repeatedly attributed to his unpopularity in his home country as a result of his marriage to Nara and Lopez’s alleged treatment.
Since marrying Nara in 2014, Icardi’s wife has also taken on another important role in his life by becoming his agent.
Her involvement in the financial side of his career made further headlines in Italy and seemed to hamper negotiations for a new contract last season after entering the last two years of his deal, which was due to expire in 2021.
Nara constantly defended her involvement, but Inter Vice President Javier Zanetti criticized her attitude during the negotiations.
Nara, now Icardi’s agent, was blamed after the striker turned down a new contract with Inter
The 26-year-old was fired from the captain at Inter because he was unable to enter into a new contract
Icardi then declined a contract offer and was subsequently robbed of the captaincy for not committing his future to the club.
In response, the striker refused to travel for the club’s Europa League clash with Rapid Vienna in February, sparking a furious response from Inter boss Spalletti.
Prior to the match, he said: ‘The decision to remove the Icardi captain was difficult and painful, absolutely shared by all club members and taken for the benefit of Inter. He was called up for Vienna, but he didn’t want to be there. Things around him troubled him and the team he headed. ‘
He finished last season with just 11 goals in 29 Serie A games – his lowest total since the 2013-14 season.
In July, Inter released a statement that the striker would not be joining the rest of the squad on the club’s pre-season tour of Asia, while contract talks remained.
Antonio Conte was appointed manager and spent £ 75 million on Romelu Lukaku, who got Icardi’s number 9 before borrowing Alexis Sanchez.
Icardi joined PSG on a seasonal loan deal in September, after being frozen at Inter
Reports linked Juventus and Napoli to a move for Icardi, but Nara rejected suggestions she had spoken to either club and insisted her husband still want to stay with Inter.
But now that Inter went on without him, he joined PSG for a season deal. They also have the option to buy it for £ 59 million at the end of the season.
It was also announced on the same day that he had extended a two-year contract with Inter. That’s mainly because the club wanted to avoid incurring the last 12 months of its contract if PSG doesn’t include their option.
In the current form that seems unlikely. Icardi has become an instant hero at the Parc des Princes.
After a summer dominated by Neymar’s on-off move to Barcelona, the striker’s impact has overshadowed questions about Brazilian’s future and meant PSG didn’t miss their talisman on the pitch .
His ability to play in both a 4-3-3 and 4-2-2-2 formation saw him emerge as PSG boss Thomas Tuchel’s first choice striker and relegated Edinson Cavani to the bench.
The striker quickly settled in the Parc des Princes and was praised for his performance
Icardi scored twice in PSG’s 5-0 win over Club Brugge in the Champions League
After scoring twice in the 5-0 Champions League win over Club Brugge, Tuchel praised Icardi’s all-round match.
“Mauro Icardi is tactically very smart,” he said. “He is very reliable to us and it is extraordinary because he works so hard too. He is very disciplined and very smart without a ball. ‘
His off-field behavior was equally impressive. In his first interview since moving to France, Icardi showed a maturity that may have been lacking earlier in his career and suggested that he was misunderstood by those who didn’t really know him, revealing a desire to win the trophies that came to him during his seven years had elapsed. years at Inter.
“Those who know me know how I really am, that’s what counts,” he said Canal +. “I am certainly more judged on my personal life than on what I do on the field.
“But it’s been seven years since I lived with Wanda Nara. I know she is a famous person, but that does not affect my mood. Otherwise I wouldn’t have scored 150 goals in Inter. ‘
He added, “I had arrived at Inter when I was seven. I dreamed of playing the Champions League with Inter and the dream came true. But we didn’t get great results, we didn’t win anything.
“I stayed, scored many goals and it was time to join a winning team that can win titles. It’s time to start winning and join a team full of champions like PSG, that’s what I wanted. ‘
Maybe he’ll get his wish.