Mauro Icardi’s 40 days in wilderness ends with rejection not redemption

The Inter striker appeared to have been reintegrated smoothly back into the squad but Luciano Spalletti’s decision not to play him in the defeat to Lazio seemed strange

Inter were poised, at last, to put this season’s most disruptive soap opera behind them. Mauro Icardi had returned to first-team training on Tuesday, ending a 40-day absence that began when he was stripped of the club captaincy. It felt like an opportune moment: spirits were high following a win over Milan, and half the squad was away on international duty, including colleagues with whom he had clashed.

The striker appeared to reintegrate smoothly. News outlets circulated videos of him passing the ball to Ivan Perisic – his purported personal rival – during a practice match. Marcelo Brozovic, who made headlines last month by ‘liking’ the Instagram post which announced that Icardi had been stripped of the captaincy, now did the same for one reporting the Argentinian’s return to the fold.

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