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Inter Milan Confirm Samir Handanovic Will Replace Mauro Icardi as Club Captain

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2019

PARMA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 09:  Mauro Icardi of FC Internazionale looks on during the Serie A match between Parma Calcio and FC Internazionale at Stadio Ennio Tardini on February 10, 2019 in Parma, Italy.  (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)
Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Inter Milan confirmed on Wednesday that goalkeeper Samir Handanovic is the new club captain, replacing striker Mauro Icardi.

The news was posted in a social media bulletin:

Inter @Inter_en

The Club can confirm that Samir #Handanovic is the new Inter captain. #FCIM

The decision follows a turbulent few weeks for Icardi and the club, with the striker still yet to sign a new contract at the San Siro.

As Goal relayed, the striker's wife and agent, Wanda Nara, has previously said that the Argentina international is open to extending his deal with the club, although she has noted the Milan giants should be offering him more amid interest from Spain, England and France.

Goal added that European champions Real Madrid have been strongly linked with Icardi in the past.

On Saturday, Inter manager Luciano Spalletti said the player must "free himself" from the contract saga and encouraged the club's directors to bring an end to the stalemate, per the MailOnline's Max Winters. However, the decision made by Inter on Wednesday will only serve to fuel further speculation.

Broadcaster Mina Rzouki believes the way the club has handled this situation and others of late is not a good look:

Mina Rzouki @Minarzouki

How can a club and a brand grow and prosper and succeed when they make headlines practically every day. Icardi’s renewal, Nainggolan’s social media, Marotta’s confessions, Spalletti’s moans, Perisic wanting out. Chaos at every level. https://t.co/rVo7fHTivc

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Goal's Carlo Garganese said he was disappointed with how this has been dealt with and put some of the blame on new chief executive Giuseppe Marotta:

Carlo Garganese @carlogarganese

I've not been impressed by Marotta's work at all so far at Inter. He's been washing all the dirty linen in public with Nainggolan, Perisic & now Icardi. It's total chaos. Maybe there's a long-term motive - he wants a culture change - but seems like just more 'Pazza Inter' to me

It's far from ideal for Inter. Although Icardi has a contract at the club until 2021, he's undoubtedly their most important player, and the Serie A outfit will understandably be concerned about interest.

Icardi may not be the quickest nor the strongest, but his anticipation and instincts in the penalty area make him one of the most potent goalscorers in European football.

The forward is on a barren run in Serie A, but he still has nine goals from 20 appearances; in the previous four campaigns, he's netted 91 top-flight goals.

It will be intriguing to see just how many more times he nets for the Nerazzurri this season, as you sense there will a reaction to this latest development.

Eurosport's Siavoush Fallahi thinks the time is now for Icardi to show he is committed to the Inter cause:

Siavoush Fallahi @SiavoushF

Icardi has always remained faithful to Inter, he's always stayed, he's always delivered. If he truly cares for Inter and the club, now is the time to show it. Very interesting to see how he reacts on all this.

Handanovic will surely do a decent job as captain, as he's experienced and well established as one of Serie A's most dependable goalkeepers. Having been at the club for seven years, he's also well attuned to what Inter supporters demand.

Even so, all the interest will be on Icardi next time he takes to the field. They're next in action on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League away at Rapid Vienna.  

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