Inter director Zanetti hopes for swift Icardi return

By Sports Desk February 22, 2019

Javier Zanetti is hopeful that Mauro Icardi will return to the field for Inter in the next two weeks.

Icardi was stripped of his captaincy last week and then withdrew himself from selection for the Europa League first-leg tie against Rapid Vienna.

The Argentina striker also missed the Serie A clash against Sampdoria and the return fixture versus Rapid, with Inter progressing in Europe and drawing Eintracht Frankfurt in the last 16.

Inter director Zanetti is keen to see Icardi back in the fold in time for the first leg on March 7, but he insists any decision on 26-year-old's availability will depend on what is best for the team.

"Mauro's still an important player for us," Zanetti told Sky Sport Italia. "We hope to have him back for this tie. It would help the team.

"I believe that when there are problems in the dressing room, you have to solve them internally. That way, this group can get stronger and stronger. I'd like us to create the conditions so we can keep winning.

"I'm sorry for the situation that has arisen but, I repeat, it must be sorted with the first thought being the good of the team.

"The [captaincy] decision wasn't taken lightly, so I don't think it'll change. I haven't talked to him yet. I'd like to let some time pass but, I reiterate, the team come first."

Related items

  • FIFA abandons plans for 48-team World Cup in Qatar FIFA abandons plans for 48-team World Cup in Qatar

    FIFA has abandoned plans to increase the number of teams at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48.

    World football's governing body said there was insufficient time to consider the proposed expansion of the tournament due to logistical concerns.

    A plan backed by president Gianni Infantino had been put forward that would have seen some of Qatar's Gulf neighbours stage some of the extra matches, having conceded it would be "difficult" to host all such games in Qatar alone.

    However, in a statement released on Wednesday, FIFA confirmed it would need more time to consider all possible requirements of an expanded tournament, with a deadline on the decision set for next month.

    It therefore says the 2022 finals will consist of 32 teams, as originally planned.

    "In line with the conclusions of the feasibility study approved by the FIFA Council at its last meeting, FIFA and Qatar have jointly explored all possibilities to increase the number of participant teams from 32 to 48 teams by involving neighbouring countries at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022," the statement said.

    "Following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now.

    "Additionally, FIFA and Qatar have once again explored the feasibility of Qatar hosting a 48-team tournament by in particular lowering certain key FIFA requirements.

    "A joint analysis, in this respect, concluded that due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on the host country, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June.

    "It was therefore decided not to further pursue this option.

    "The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June."

  • BREAKING NEWS: FIFA abandons plans for 48-team World Cup in Qatar BREAKING NEWS: FIFA abandons plans for 48-team World Cup in Qatar
    FIFA has abandoned plans to increase the number of teams at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48.
  • AFC Champions League Review: Guangzhou Evergrande squeeze through, Kashima Antlers' title defence continues AFC Champions League Review: Guangzhou Evergrande squeeze through, Kashima Antlers' title defence continues

    Guanghzou Evergrande beat Daegu 1-0 to usurp the South Korean side in AFC Champions League Group F and book a place in the knockout phase.

    The Chinese Super League club looked set for a shock group-stage exit, but Paulinho's effort went in off Jeong Tae-wook to move Guangzhou a point ahead of their visitors.

    Defending champions Kashima Antlers also ran things a little close as they had to come from behind to secure a 2-1 home win against Shandon Luneng.

    Marouane Fellaini gave Shandong an early lead and for a while that looked like it would be enough to prevail in the Group E clash.

    But Sho Ito struck twice in quick succession in the second half, the winner coming in the 70th minute, meaning Antlers finished two points ahead of Gyeongnam.

    They too were victorious on the day as Dutch striker Luc Castaignos helped Kim Jong-boo's side to a 2-0 victory over Johor Darul Ta'zim, with Takahiro Kunimoto also on target.

    The day's other game saw Sanfrecce Hiroshima – already assured of top spot in Group F – dispatch Melbourne Victory comfortably, winning 3-1 in Australia, leaving the A-League side bottom with just one point.

    Antlers will be Hiroshima's opponents in the round of 16, while Shandong face Guangzhou.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.