Mauro Icardi stripped of Inter Milan captaincy

Mauro Icardi and Luciano Spalletti

Mauro Icardi has been stripped of the Inter Milan captaincy in favour of goalkeeper Samir Handanovic amid speculation the Argentina forward is set to leave the club, the Italian outfit announced on Wednesday.

Icardi has a contract with the Nerazzurri until 2021 but continues to be linked with a move away, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United all having been credited with an interest.

After being informed that he'd been stripped of the armband, Icardi decided that he did not want to travel to Austria for Inter's Europa League clash with Rapid Vienna on Thursday.

"It was a hard decision but it was supported by everyone at the club and made for the good of Inter as well as the team".

The Argentina global trained with the squad on Wednesday but was a notable absentee when Inter named the 19-man party who would travel to Austria for the first leg of their last-32 tie.

Sources in Italy say that Icardi's team-mates no longer see him as a captain. He has not scored in the league since mid-December - a run of eight games without finding the back of the net.

'Spalletti didn't have it in for me, ' Wanda said.

The Slovenia global, 34, joined Inter from Udinese in 2012 while Icardi arrived from Sampdoria in 2013, taking over as captain from Andrea Ranocchia in 2015.

The 25-year-old Argentine has always been rumoured to be thinking about a San Siro exit.

His relationship with Inter's fans has been frosty ever since, despite his return of 122 goals in 210 games, and a poll on La Gazzetta dello Sport's website on Wednesday asking whether Inter had been right to scrap him of the captaincy saw nearly 90 percent of over 15,000 votes backing the club's stance.

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