‘Icardi wouldn’t play at Barcelona’


Mauro Icardi’s former agent explains he took him to Italy as “he’d never have played” in the Barcelona first team due to their style of play.

The Inter captain will return to face his former side at Camp Nou tonight, having left for Sampdoria at the age of 17 without making a first team appearance.

“The truth is that the club didn’t want to sell him,” Abian Morano, Icardi’s former agent, told FCInterNews.

“But the central point was that the team played a formation which didn’t include an out-and-out striker. The system they chose was one with a false-nine.

“That’s why I decided it was time for Icardi to get a change of scenery. In his two years at Barcelona he scored something like 17 goals in his first year and 19 in his second.

“You have to remember that €300,000 seemed like a considerable fee [for Sampdoria to pay] for a 17-year-old who had no minutes at Barcelona.

“They focused more on other profiles, ones more suited to playing as a false-nine. So we can say that his price wasn’t low, but it wasn’t excessively high either.

“Mauro had always been top-scorer in the youth teams he played for, until his third season with Barcelona.

“With Barça though he’d have never come to the first team. Do you remember what [Paulo] Dybala said, that it’s not easy to play with [Lionel] Messi?

“Despite the criticism he got I think he was right, that’s 100 per cent the point. [Zlatan] Ibra[himovic], [Samuel] Eto’o and [David] Villa turned from central strikers to wide strikers to play with El Pulce.

“When [Pep] Guardiola was there it was unthinkable to see Barcelona play with a central striker. That’s why I made the decision to seek a transfer elsewhere.

“If Mauro wanted to be a protagonist, he had to leave. If he’d stayed I’d say he 100 per cent would not have become a professional footballer.”

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