clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Icardi in a battle for a place at the Olympics

Argentina coach Tata Martino has said he will call up two strikers for the Olympics, and Icardi is one of four candidates though his past might come back to haunt him.

Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Inter and the Argentina National Team have had a...tenuous relationship in recent years. After the Treble Inter's Argentinian players were probably all performing at their highest levels, so it was expected that then-coach Diego Maradona would call up all of them for the 2010 World Cup. Those expectations turned out to be wrong. He opted not to choose Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso and while he did select Walter Samuel and Diego Milito, the two of them only featured in two of the team's five matches at the tournament.

When Mauro Icardi arrived at Inter and began making the San Siro faithful fall in love with him, many fans believed it would only be a matter of time before he started getting regularly called up for La Albiceleste. Him and Dybala were viewed as the stars of the next generation of Argentinian strikers so when he got his first appearance for the senior side in 2013 it was reasonably to assume more call-ups would follow. Then stories of Icardi's relationship with Wanda Nara broke and while Maradona was the only person linked to the national team to publicly denounce the young striker (multiple times), Icardi has not had another appearance with the national team since then.

Now Tata Martino, the current coach of their national team, has spoken about his plans for who he wants to take to the Olympics in Brazil this summer. He has said that he wants to take two strikers, and the attackers he is considering include Paulo Dybala, Luciano Vietto, Jonathan Calleri, and Icardi. He claims that he will only judge Icardi based on his actions on the pitch and if that is the case then the Milan-based striker should be feeling confident about his chances. Dybala and Icardi have each scored 14 Serie A goals this season while Vietto only has a single La Liga goal to his name. Since Calleri's move to São Paulo he has scored 3 goals in 11 league matches but unless that strike-rate improves I don't see him making the cut either.

As long as Icardi keeps scoring he will have a good shot at making Martino's squad for the Olympics. He will also have to hope that the coach sticks to his word and only considers Icardi's exploits on the field and not those off it. If he does take the young striker's personal life into account then Icardi could once again see himself frozen out of the national team.