'I don't speak about traitors' – Diego Maradona has his say on Mauro Icardi
Not one known to pull his punches, Diego Armando Maradona made his feelings very clear when he was asked his opinion on whether Mauro Icardi should be called up for the Argentine national team.
Attending a press conference ahead of a “Match for Peace” event organised by the Vatican, Maradona said -
“I don't know if Icardi will be called up for the national team. I don't speak about traitors. I'm here for the Match for Peace and Icardi has nothing to do with it.”
Icardi has been on fire for Internazionale over the past few seasons – having won the golden boot with 22 goals in 13/14, and scored 16 goals in 14/15, he's already got six in seven this season.
He had been eligible to play for Italy as well, and Cesare Prandelli (then coach of Italy) had expressed his interest publicly. Icardi, though, had made it clear he only wanted to wear play for La Albiceleste –
"I'm very grateful to Italian football for the opportunity it has given me, I'd also like to thank Prandelli for the nice words he expressed about me. But I have to be honest and sincere - I'm Argentine, I feel Argentine, and I've always dreamed of wearing the shirt of my nation. To actually do that would be the maximum for me"
He played his only game in the blue and white of Argentina when he came on as an 82nd-minute substitute in a 2-3 World Cup qualifier loss to Uruguay.
With Lionel Messi's recent injury and Sergio Aguero's continued niggles, and considering Icardi's sizzling form, there have been calls from some quarters for his inclusion in the squad.
Maradona, though, was referring to Icardi's personal life when he called him a traitor. Icardi had had an affair with Wanda Lopez, who happened to be married to Maxi Lopez (a fellow Argentine, and then Icardi's teammate at Sampdoria). Icardi and Wanda later got married after the affair became public.
Quite naturally, bad blood has existed between Lopez and Icardi ever since.
Icardi on his part hasn't kept quiet either – “Maradona is not an example to anyone. His words are not compatible with peace.”
With neither man known to back down from his stance, this doesn't look like it'll be settled anytime soon.
Meanwhile, Maradona – an absolute legend at Naples – was also questioned on Gonzalo Higuain's surprise move to Juventus from Napoli. And he had this to say -
“As for Higuain, I’m not angry with him as some have perhaps said. Every man can do what he wants, I was surprised though, he didn’t act in the right way by having a medical in Spain, something which was completely pointless. It hurts me, because I played with his father [Jorge] and he knows that you can’t act like that. I don’t have anything against Pipita though, he’ll continue to score goals for Juve.”