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Is Mauro Icardi better off not playing for Argentina?

National team on the verge of not making round of 16 in 2018 World Cup.

FC Internazionale v US Sassuolo - Serie A
Mauro Icardi of FC Internazionale reacts during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and US Sassuolo at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 12, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

A lot was said initially about Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi being left off the Argentina national team leading up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Much was said about Argentina legend Lionel Messi purposely scuttling Icardi’s chances of being on the team for whatever reason.

Argentina v Croatia: Group D - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Lionel Messi and team mate Sergio Aguero of Argentina show their dejection during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Group D match between Argentina and Croatia at Nizhniy Novgorod Stadium on June 21, 2018 in Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia.
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Nonetheless, Icardi was left home while Argentina has struggled to the verge of not even making it out of group play after teammates Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic’s Croatia dispatched of Argentina 3-0 on Thursday.

One question I had was: Is Icardi better off not playing for the national team, all things considered?

First, I found it rather disheartening that Jorge Sampaoli would leave the leading striker in Serie A off the roster in the first place.

The reason? Who knows. Speculation suggests Messi had a role in the decision, but there has been little to validate that claim.

Even if it were true, there is little sense to the decision.

You have Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain — both of whom were subbed on late in the game against Croatia; both on the roster — both are quality players, but neither have the production that Icardi had this season.

Icardi is versatile as he can play in the center and switch to play on the wings, if necessary, so fitting him into a particular formation wouldn’t be an issue.

But, I digress.

By not playing for Argentina, Icardi is not able to elevate his profile — not that he really has to or wants to — but, he also doesn’t risk injury either.

Not to mention the fact that by not playing, Icardi isn’t drawing any criticism for how the Argentinian national team is playing at present. If they fail to qualify for the round of 16, that certainly doesn’t fall on Icardi’s shoulders. It is likely Messi and Sampaoli will bear the burden for that.

This summer, Icardi has the ability to simply relax and make preparations to train and get ready for a run at the Champions League and the Scudetto for Inter Milan.

Let’s hope that pays dividends when the season gets underway in a couple of months.

What do you think? Post your comments below!