Mauro Icardi stripped of Inter Milan captaincy and refuses to travel to Rapid Vienna game

Mauro Icardi and Luciano Spalletti
Icardi and Luciano Spalletti pass on the pitch after Inter Milan's home defeat by Bologna on 3 February - their third league game without a win

Mauro Icardi has refused to travel to Inter Milan's Europa League game against Rapid Vienna after being stripped of the club captaincy amid protracted talks over a new contract.

The Argentine striker, 25, is under contract until 2021 but the club has been negotiating a new deal with his wife Wanda Nara, who acts as his agent.

Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic has been named the new skipper.

Inter head coach Luciano Spalletti said Icardi "did not want to be there".

He added: "The decision to remove the captaincy from Icardi was difficult and painful, absolutely shared by all the club members and taken for the good of Inter.

"He was called up for Vienna but he did not want to be there.

"Things around him have disturbed him and the team he captained. Now we have to focus all our attention on Thursday's game."

Slovenia international Handanovic, 34, joined Inter from Udinese in 2012 while Icardi arrived from Sampdoria in 2013, taking over as captain from Andrea Ranocchia in 2015.

Icardi, who has eight caps for Argentina, scored 122 goals in 208 appearances for Inter, who are currently third in Serie A, 20 points behind leaders Juventus.

Inter Milan tweet confirming that Samir Handanovic is their new captain
Inter Milan tweeted this brief statement on Wednesday

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