Inter captain Mauro Icardi was only called up to the Argentina squad because of his wife Wanda Nara, Diego Maradona has claimed.
The legendary footballer believes Icardi benefitted from his wife’s links to higher-ups at the Argentine national team and has slated the striker, who infamously began an affair with Nara while she was still married to his former Sampdoria teammate Maxi Lopez; describing the situation as “filthy”.
The scandalous nature of Icardi’s marriage to Nari in 2014 has long since brought animosity and criticism to them in Argentina. It is reason why he’s was excluded from the squad for the 2016 Copa America.
Icardi’s selection by Jorge Sampaoli in June for the friendlies against Brazil and Singapore were his first in three years, and his first senior call-ups after his marriage to Nara.
However. in an interview Maradona has spoken out against the decision to select Icardi for the games, stating how his wife had to be involved in the call-ups by calling the coaches “three or four” times.
“Sampaoli brought a sorcerer to Ecuador, which is as bad as calling an injured Icardi when you leave out [Juventus striker Gonzalo] Higuain, who has always scored goals. He [Icardi] didn’t play, granted, but he was there,” said Maradona to Clarin via Football Italia.
“You can’t leave [Sergio] Aguero out of the first list and call this Pata de lana [someone who steals his friend’s wife].
“The one with the woman who wants to get involved in football and be his agent, the one who plays ball with Maxi Lopez’s children. I know the story well.
“She [Wanda] called [Edgardo] Bauza three times, the other [presumably Gerardi Martino] four. The Coaches themselves, or their assistants told me this.
“I don’t know how many times Wanda Nara called Sampaoli. It’s filthy, because there’s also the ‘player, president and entrepreneur’ named Juan Sebastian Veron, the one who did the first call-ups for Sampaoli.”
Tensions between Icardi and Nara’s ex-husband Maxi Lopez have spilled onto the pitch.
During a Serie A match in April 2014 between Sampdoria and Inter, Lopez notably refused to shake Icardi’s hand, which enabled the press to nickname the game the “Wanda derby”. Two years later, did the same as he refused to shake Icardi’s hand during a match against Torino.
Personal life aside, Icardi has been in bright form for Inter this season as they remain second in Serie A and two points behind league leaders Napoi. The Argentine has scored 11 goals in as many Serie A appearances, recently scoring twice against Sampdoria.
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