In his regular weekly column Inter fanatic Sam Olsen dives deep into the stories that matter to Inter’s fans looking to keep the spirit of discussion alive and well on the pages of Sempreinter.com.
Pazza Inter has never been more apt than in the last few days. Inter has never been just a normal club. From their scatter gun transfer dealings at the height of the Moratti era, to the failures to conduct any long term planning after the success of the treble, to the infamous 5th of May 2002, Inter has always been run from the heart than the head, which made the whole Icardi autobiography mess unfortunately unsurprising. After all, it wouldn’t be Inter if something seemingly completely unnecessary and avoidable was messing up the season.
We all remember the incident. I was rather shocked to be honest. I was used to the teams languishing in the bottom of the table fighting battles with their fans, or perhaps Roma whose fans seem to take any possible opportunity to storm the training ground to protest one slight or another, but I always felt we were better than that.
Inter were on a string of poor results, the fans were upset and demanded more, Fredy Guarin, who I believe was in the midst of one of his classic runs of poor form (although if I remember rightly the game or two after the incident he put in some of his best performances in an Inter shirt), while the team struggled to string a sequence of results together. After another disappointing loss to a mid-table battler, some players moved toward the away fans end, which at this point was a seething mass of rage as supporters expressed their honest opinions on the lacklustre performance.
Guarin, as he was prone to, slapped his badge in an effort to say, ‘hey guys, we are trying but you gotta realise we ain’t that good. Give us a break. We love playing for this club and to be honest can’t quite believe they agreed to firstly sign us, and secondly, in my case, pay me 100,000 Euros per week’!
As Guarin remonstrated, Icardi began to strip, not just his shirt but, somewhat surprisingly, his shorts too, supposedly to give to a young supporter, right in front of the angry mass, because, well, that is what you do in that situation isn’t it? The gift was swiftly and unceremoniously returned via one of the ‘supporters’ which led to Icardi, a man of renowned ego and petulance to lose his rag.
As the supporters hurled insults so too did Icardi, apparently claiming to be preparing a hit squad, or some kind of mercenary Argentinian rapid strike force, that would make sure that the next kid lucky enough to get his own Icardi worn shirt would keep it. Even the intervention of inspiration and role model captain Andrea Rannochia proved ineffective in calming the raging Argentine. (One wonders whether we would have witnessed such events with Zanetti in charge.)
Soon however the fuss was over. The boys put their handbags away for another week and everyone got back to work, the mob in their 40 hour per week jobs, looking forward to the next match, and Icardi to Wanda, his mansion, and the training ground.
But Mauro Icardi is not one to let sleeping dogs lie. While other sports heroes, celebrities and people worthy of recording their life in an biography wait till the end of their career so as to gain perspective on it, or at least after they change clubs, Icardi, with the wisdom of a broken brick believed the story of a 23 year old striker who had yet to achieve anything other than helping his team qualify for the Europa League, top the scoring charts in the 2014/15 season alongside internationally renowned goal producer Luca Toni (before watching compatriot Higuain score 20 more than him the following season), and hooking up with his friend’s ex-wife, needed to be told. If this is the benchmark for being able to write a biography, publishers are in for a busy year. I am eagerly awaiting the imminent release of the movie. Should be thrilling…..
In order to fill the pages of the book, Icardi needed to pull up virtually everything that has ever happened in his life, including regurgitating the events of that loss against Sassuolo in which he proclaimed himself the swashbuckling hero protecting the rights of children to bear his shorts against rabid mobs of gangsters. One can imagine him walking into the silent dressing room afterwards, his teammates looking solemnly over at him as he strode through the door. Captain Rannochia would have surely stood up and started a slow clap, before the rest of the team joined in as it erupted into a rousing cheer for the new hero.
It seems inexplicable that Icardi would be so stupid to think that he could write what he did without there being any sort of blow back. Can someone be so cut off from reality, so separated from fact and any kind of impartial opinion, that no one thought that this section might be a problem? As someone who has written a book I know that there are several people who read and review it before it goes public, did none of them think that this might be a problem? Or did they simply see an opportunity to promote the book through controversy?
And what of the club? Did they know that Icardi was writing the book? Did they not bother to ask to see a copy before it went anywhere near the public domain so as to see off any potential problems? They are after all paying him an inordinate amount of money to for him to not just play football, but to represent the club as a global ambassador. Surely one of their players, the 23 year old captain no less, writing a book should have set off alarm bells. After all what else was he going to right about to sell the book, than things that happen inside the club?
So now, Pazza Inter rolls on. The fans scream for the captain’s departure, rival clubs circle, licking their lips at the opportunity to pick up a proven goal scorer, approaching his prime for a reasonable price, the focus of the players is torn from the job at hand at an important juncture of the season and the people in charge seem unable to properly manage it all.
Icardi for his part seems, and this is incredible, genuinely bemused by the whole situation. He lives in such a bubble, so disconnected from those who support the club, so surrounded by yes men, and a wife/advisor that is about as useful as a bag of ice in Antarctica, that he could not see this coming. His apologies appear to be sincere which will hopefully help the reconciliation process but it may take some time.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing as a supporter is knowing that if things do not work out, Icardi, as a top class young striker who by all accounts is professional and dedicated on the training pitch, will simply go to another club, get paid more and probably play in the Champions League while the club, and the fans, will have to hope whoever gets bought in can fill the large hole at the top of the pitch. Pazza Inter, huh?
Words: Sam Olsen – Follow him @SamOlsenBYWV