Mauro Icardi’s inspiring Inter form capped off with contract extension
Roberto Mancini’s Inter Milan have endured a sensationally poor season in Serie A, finishing the campaign in eighth position, but star striker Mauro Icardi’s sublime goalscoring form has been a shining light in an otherwise troublesome term.
The clinical Argentine dispatched a double in Inter’s last league fixture on the final day of the season to see his side finish three points above city rivals AC Milan and also become the youngest Capocannoniere since Paolo Rossi in 1978, finishing the campaign as joint-highest Serie A goalscorer with Luca Toni on 22 strikes.
— F.C. Internazionale (@Inter_en) June 3, 2015
Interestingly, Hellas Verona veteran and former Italy international Toni became the oldest ever winner of the award at 38 years of age, overtaking Dario Hubner, who was 35 in 2002. The journeyman was joined at the top of the standings by a younger marksman, but Icardi’s distinguished form was amazingly deemed unworthy of an international call-up to Argentina’s Copa America squad (2/1 with Coral to win).
A newly penned contract extension at the San Siro means Inter fans can look forward to their main man continuing to captivate Serie A, with the Argentine recently agreeing a new deal keeping him at the club until 2019.
Inspiring the Nerazzurri to a narrow 4-3 triumph over Empoli on the final day with a brilliant brace, Icardi became only the fourth Argentine in 50 years to claim this prestigious accolade; joining fellow countrymen Diego Maradona, Hernan Crespo and Gabriel Batistuta, an esteemed trio of La Albiceleste stars to be listed among at just 22 years of age.
Most goals in Serie A this season: Luca Toni (22) Mauro Icardi (22) Carlos Tevez (20) Gonzalo Higuain (18) pic.twitter.com/7niUUOekjm
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 31, 2015
To join such distinguished company at his age, Icardi has cemented himself as one of the world’s finest finishers, despite being unable to help Inter end their season in a European position. Incredibly, next season will be the first that neither Milan club will begin the campaign in a European club competition, signalling a daunting decline within two of the country’s highly-regarded sides.
Next term’s Champions League will, however, be hosted by the two clubs’ home ground at the San Siro, but neither outfit will feature, meaning there could be a host of stars departing from the famous Italian stadium.
Icardi, though, has welcomingly shown true commitment to his current employers after a magnificent maiden season in the famous blue and black strip.
“Everybody wants to play in Europe, but I’m happy here with Inter,” stated Icardi. “I hope we can keep getting better and the club are working on building an even more competitive squad next season.
“All players want to be in the Champions League, but I’m happy here at Inter. I hope I can qualify for that competition next year with a great Nerazzurri side.
“I didn’t expect to do so well this season, so I’m delighted. I’m sure that with the boss [Roberto Mancini] we’ll succeed. We’ve been working well for a good five or six months now, and we’ll get better in pre-season.”
The internationally overlooked frontman was a reported target for Premier League champions Chelsea, who will want to bolster their attacking force for next term (6/4 for 2015/16 title), while Real Madrid were also believed to be interested.
In a profession which is constantly plagued by agents and players forcing through transfers for financial gain, Icardi’s recent long-term commitment and determination, coupled with his fine form, are admirable and show that the Argentine is ready to be the man to help Inter claw back to their past glories.