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“You use a child to justify yourself… You fling mud at us… You’re not a man… You’re not a captain… You’re just a vile piece of shit.”
So read the banner unveiled by Inter Milan fans in the San Siro this weekend, directed at their very own captain, Mauro Icardi. Despite being the Italian side’s most prized asset, the Argentine has always had a tendency to rub people the wrong way. And he’s really outdone himself this time.
He was top-scorer in Serie A in his second season at Inter and the next he was awarded his side’s captaincy at the tender age of 22. And despite being the joint top scorer in the league so far this season, a section of fans known as the Curva Nord cheered when he missed a penalty this weekend and even showed up at the striker’s home to rally against him.
So you’d think Icardi must have done something pretty drastic to warrant all this negative attention. And you’d think right. Last week Icardi released his autobiography Sempre Avanti (Always Forward) and a particular episode in which he discusses a confrontation involving himself, team-mate Freddy Guarín and fans, has enraged the club’s Ultras.
Back in February 2015, Guarín and Icardi approached this same section of fans to apologize for a dismal display in a 3-1 defeat to Sassullo. The Argentine writes of how he threw his shirt to a young fan in the crowd, only for one of the Curva Nord leaders to hurl it back, while verbally abusing the striker. Icardi didn’t take to this too well and launched his own verbal assault — he even writes of how he threatened to kill this fan. While, this incident didn’t exactly help Icardi endear himself to Inter’s passionate supporters, it had been all but forgotten by most. Not by Icardi, though.
One particularly aggressive passage in the autobiography has revived and intensified all the bitterness of that day. Icardi writes: “I am ready to meet face to face with each one of them. How many? 50, 100, 200? Ok, I have a message, listen up: I’m going to bring 100 killers over from Argentina to murder them where they stand and then we’ll see.” Yes, he actually wrote that. The captain of Inter Milan has threatened to have his own fans killed. It’s not all too surprising that they’re not best pleased with him then, is it?
And now it seems like there’s no possible route back into the hearts of the Inter fans. In an official statement from the Curva Nord, the fans said: “You’re finished for us. You’re done. Take the armband off, you clown.” Icardi has since apologized through Instagram, adding that he was “surprised” by the hate he’s been getting. Really, Mauro? Did you expect adoration from the fans whom you wrote a death threat to?