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Mauro Icardi: Inter's underrated world class striker

Wednesday 18th October 2017
When Inter faced Milan in Sunday's Derby Della Madonnina at San Siro, Mauro Icardi proved the difference. Just another Argentine striker bagging a hattrick.

The Inter captain's three goals were one better than Vincenzo Montella's entire team. Yet, despite his heroics for Internazionale, Icardi is still not considered a world-class striker in many quarters. Maybe fighting for a place in the Argentina squad against Lionel Messi, Sergio Kun Aguero, Paulo Dybala, and Gonzalo Higuain makes him seem average.
Milan derbies are usually seesaw affairs, never a safe bet. Strikers are usually kicked all over the pitch. Grabbing a brace is a miracle. The last striker to score a hat-trick in the Milan derby was Diego Milito, in May 2012. Should we read anything into him being Argentine, as well?

Icardi's hat-trick took his all-time tally for Inter to 87. He's approaching a century for the club in just his fifth season. In Serie A. Where 20-goal scorers are rare. It's shocking Mauro Icardi doesn't pop up by default in every discussion concerning world-class strikers.
Icardi has had his fair share of trouble in Milan. You might call him Inter's John Terry. His marriage to Wanda Nara, former Sampdoria teammate Maxi Lopez's ex-wife, and a chapter in his autobiography that had to be redacted, dominated local tabloids for months. The scandals threatened to truncate his Inter career. Today, Nerazzurri fans only remember his goals.

Nine goals in eight matches, to be precise. Icardi has had a typically prolific, if late start to 2017-18. A goal-poacher that actually poaches goals, Mauro Icardi should be rivaling Higuain, Dybala, and Edin Dzeko as Serie A's most revered striker.

In Italy and Argentina, many who dislike Icardi do so on account of his controversial affair with Nara. His performance on the pitch was secondary to their perception of his morality. While Lopez and Nara's divorce featured cheating allegations on both sides, only Nara and Icardi were convicted in the court of public opinion.

Last season, Icardi lit up Serie A with 24 goals. Through September, this season, Icardi had failed to find the net from open play. Some Inter fans joined in the media's criticism. His performance against Milan served as a reminder that, whatever you think of his private life, between the lines he is world class.

Just 24, Mauro Icardi's goalscoring prowess has been on the rise since he joined the Nerazzurri in 2013-14. He was the Capocannoniere (Golden Boot) in 2014-15 . His devotion to the Inter cause has earned him the skippers armband at a young age.

Spurs fans will tell you Harry Kane is underrated. I've argued the opposite. Icardi is a textbook example for the underrated striker. Despite his heroics, the larger world dismisses him.
It's even more surprising a player of his quality has only four caps for the Argentina national team. With Lionel Messi assuming the bulk of the scoring burden for La Albiceleste, the one player who could share that burden, who could play off the Barca star with ease, barely warrants a glance from Jorge Sampaoli.

If you rated strikers in UEFA's big five leagues by their production versus reputation, Mauro Icardi would top the list. The searchlight is usually on strikers in more lucrative leagues and those bought for mouth-watering sums. However, Icardi, signed by Inter Milan for just over £6 million, has scored more goals for the club than former Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo ever did.
Kingsley Ukpai

Kingsley is a football aficionado who craves to read, watch, play and write about the greatest team sport ever known to man. If you're talking football he'll be keen to listen to what you have to say. Loves to play Fantasy Football too.


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