Inter Milan have confirmed they have stripped striker Mauro Icardi of his role as club captain, replacing him with Slovenian goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.
It comes following the lack of progress in negotiations over a new contract for the Argentine forward, with Icardi being represented by his wife Wanda Nara as his agent during contract discussions.
The 25-year-old was made Inter captain before the 2015/16 season, taking on the armband as a 22-year-old from Italian defender Andrea Ranocchia but has now had it taken away from him three-and-a-half years later.
"The new captain of the team is Samir Handanovic," the Serie A giants tweeted, although they have not yet offered an explanation as to why they have decided to take it away from Icardi.
Handanovic, 34, has been at the San Siro since 2012 after signing from league rivals Udinese, making 270 appearances for the club in that time.
End of an era?
Though we do not yet know the reasons for Icardi losing the armband, it seems a pretty clear indication that the Argentina international will be ending his association with Inter at the end of the current season.
He has now also been left out of their squad for the Europa League tie against Rapid Wien on Thursday night, just hours before they are set to take on the Austrian side in the Round of 32.
For much of his spell at the San Siro, Icardi has been the one shining light during what has ultimately been a hugely disappointing spell in the club’s history, with Inter falling from grace over recent years.
Inter have finished 5th, 8th, 4th, 7th and 4th in Icardi’s five full seasons with the club and are currently sat 3rd in Serie A, being a huge 20 points behind league leaders and perennial champions Juventus.
Inter’s struggles certainly haven’t been through a lack of trying from Icardi, who has been the club’s top scorer in each of their last four campaigns in all competitions, netting a total of 122 goals in 208 appearances.
But could he have now played his final match for the club?
If Icardi is on the market there certainly won’t be a lack of suitors interested in his services, with there being a distinct lack of available centre forwards that are able to score 20 goals a season.
Icardi guarantees goals and last season enjoyed the most prolific campaign of his career, having netted 29 Serie A goals in just 34 appearances, with that being the best return of his career so far. This season he has netted 15 goals in 26 games in all competitions, nine of which have come from 18 appearances in Serie A.
So, where could he now end up next season?
Chelsea are crying out for a prolific centre-forward and Icardi could certainly be an alternative option to Gonzalo Higuain should the London side decide not to make his loan deal permanent at the end of the season.
The under-fire Maurizio Sarri will be well aware of Icardi’s talents having spent years in Serie A and watched his development, with there being plenty of rumours last summer that they wanted to bring him to Stamford Bridge.
Elsewhere, Real Madrid have also been linked with the poacher in the past, having been on the hunt for a new goalscorer in the aftermath of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus last summer.
Karim Benzema has improved this season, netting 18 goals in all competitions but is now 31 and it seems like they will need to move on from him in the coming season. Eden Hazard and Neymar have also been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu as they look to rebuild their attack in the summer.
Manchester United could also do worse than look at Icardi, with their attacking options needing replenishing in the summer. Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez have looked a shadow of their former selves in recent times, making it look more likely that they will be moved on than having a long-term future at the club come the end of the season.
There is the basis of a solid front line already at the club with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, but they could do with a reliable goalscorer to take them on to the next level.
NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY. FIRST SINGLE & E/W BET ONLY ODDS OF 1/1 OR GREATER. 3 X £10 BET TOKENS. FREE BET STAKES NOT INCLUDED IN RETURNS. FREE BETS ONLY REDEEMABLE ON FOOTBALL. FREE BETS ARE NON WITHDRAWABLE. NO FREE BET EXPIRY. ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS AND FURTHER T&CS APPLY.
🟢 Bet £10 & Get £50 in free bets! 🟡
For new customers. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
🔸 BET £10 AND GET £30 IN FREE BETS! 🔸
New Customer offer. Place a min £10 bet on the Sportsbook on odds of min 1/2 (1.5), get £30 in Free Bets. Rewards valid for 30 days. SMS verification required. Only deposits via cards will qualify. T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly
⚽️ BET £10 & GET £40 IN FREE BETS! (MOBILE ONLY) ⚽️
Sign-up via Mobile using promo code N40 and place a bet of £10/€10 or more and we will give you 4x £10/€10 free bets. By entering the Promo code in the box above you agree to the full terms and conditions of this promotion as displayed below. See full terms below.
⚽️ UP TO £50 MONEY BACK AS CASH IF ANY OF YOUR FIRST 5X £10 FOOTBALL BETS LOSE ⚽️
Place 5x£10 Sportsbook bets on any market at minimum odds of 2.0 (Evs), and get money back as Cash if it loses. Max refund per qualifying bet is £10 (up to £50 in total). Only deposits made via Cards will be eligible for the promotion (Apple Pay excluded). T&Cs apply
🔷 GET £30 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £10 🔷
Full T&C’s Apply. New customers on mobile only. 7 days to claim and stake £10 minimum bet at odds of 1.5 or greater to qualify. Free, void, cashed out or partially cashed out bets do not qualify. Max 3x £10 free bets credited on bet settlement. Free bets must be used on 4 or more selections with selection odds of 1.3 or greater. Free bets are non-withdrawable and stake not returned with winnings. 7 day expiry. 18+ BeGambleAware.org.
🟠 BET £10 & GET £20 IN FREE BETS! 🟠
*New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from crediting (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org
🔴 GET £20 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £5 🔴
18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excl. Min first £/€5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 to get 4x £/€5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions + T&Cs apply.
✅ BET £10 & GET £30 IN FREE BETS ✅
New UK, IE & Malta customers only. 18+. Min £10/€10 first deposit using Debit Card or Trustly. Place a bet of £10 at min odds of 1.5. Free bets expire in 90 days. Full T&Cs apply.
🔹 GET £30 IN BONUSES WHEN YOU BET £5 🔹
18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £5 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days of registering, no cashout. Get 2x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus a £10 Slot Bonus, selected games, wager 20x to withdraw max £250. 7 day bonus expiry. Card payments only. T&Cs apply, see below. begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
✅ GET A FREE BET UP TO £35 + 10 FREE SPINS ✅
If your account has Sportsbook losses at the end of your first day's betting, QuinnBet will refund 50% of your losses as a Free Bet up to £35 (min 3 bets) Plus 10 Free online casino spins at QuinnCasino. Even if your account is up, you're guaranteed a £5 Free Bet Plus 10 Free Spins provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at the minimum odds. T&Cs apply | 18+ New UK Customers Only | BeGambleAware.org
BET £5 & GET £30 IN BONUSES
18+ New Customers opt in, bet £5 & get 2x £10 Free Bets for set events (odds 2.00+) + £10, Slots Bonus, selected games, 35x wagering to withdraw max £250. Bonuses expire in 7 days. Card Payments only. T&Cs Apply, see below. | begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
🎉 BET £10 & GET £60 FREE BETS! 🎉
New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+). First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
🟢 UP TO £40 MONEY BACK AS BONUSES + A £10 CASINO BONUS 🟢
18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first sports bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. Visit Unibet.co.uk for full T&C's. #Ad
🔵 BET £10 & GET £20 IN FREE BETS + ACCA REWARDS OF YOUR CHOICE! 🔵
New UK customers (Excluding NI) only. Mobile exclusive. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. Free bet applied on 1st settlement of any qualifying bet. 30 days to qualify. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. 1 Free Bet offer per customer, household & IP Address only. 18+. T&C's Apply **18+. Choose either Boost or Insurance. Available for in-play/pre-match bets on selected sports. You cannot use specials, boosts, any free bet or any other promotion. A minimum of 5 selections and minimum odds of 1/5 per selection/leg to receive Acca Rewards. Minimum stake of £/€0.05. Max free bet refund of £/€20 per Acca for Insurance. Maximum bonus payout is €/£1,000 per Acca for boost. Free bets, cashed out or voided bets will not qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
♥️ GET £40 FREE PLAY PLUS A £10 FREE SPORTS BET! ♥️
1st time depositors only. Min. deposit £10. Use code FAPOKER. Free Play given as cash, Spin & Go tickets, and a Sports Free Bet over 6 days. Tickets expire after 24 hours. Withdrawal restricted during bonus period. Terms apply.
🔵 GET £20 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £5 🔵
18+ New UK & ROI Customers only. Min deposit £5. Min first £5 bet at minimum odds 1/2 to qualify for 1x 20 free bet. Certain deposit methods and bet types excl. Free bet valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions + T&Cs apply.
GET A £30 MATCHED FREE BET IF YOUR FIRST FOOTBALL ACCA LOSES!!!! 🙌🙌🙌
*New UK customers only. Min Deposit: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. Debit card deposits only. This is offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 18+ BeGambleAware.org Full terms apply.