Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi thinks Argentina World Cup call-up is unlikely
Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi has told Ole that he does not believe that he will get called up by Argentina for the World Cup this summer.
Icardi, the Inter captain, has scored 26 goals in 30 Serie A appearances this season, including four in his side's 5-0 victory at Sampdoria on March 18.
And although he was called up for four World Cup qualifiers at the end of last year, he does not seem to be part of coach Jorge Sampaoli's plans for Russia.
"It is nothing strange," Icardi said. "I think that it was only because I lacked more time [on the pitch]."
Icardi appeared in three of the four games for Argentina, playing the full 90 minutes in a goalless draw against Uruguay on Aug. 31 and coming off after 74 minutes in the 1-1 draw against Venezuela on Sept. 5.
But he was an unused substitute in a goalless draw against Peru on Oct. 5 and only came on in the 76th minute of the 3-1 victory against Ecuador five days later that sent Argentina to the World Cup -- and he also was not called up for friendlies against Italy and Spain in March.
"I do not know if I joined the national team at the right time because of the pressure that we faced," Icardi said. "But I did what I was asked by the coaching staff, and the truth is, I am very happy to have played a role in qualifying."
Sampaoli said in March, when Argentina confirmed their squad for the friendlies, that "about 80 percent" of the World Cup squad has been finalised, but that it does not mean other players will not be considered.
"I am 25 years old, have been the captain of Inter for three years and I am part of club history with my goals," Icardi said. "And I dream of playing in the World Cup, now or later. I have that goal. If it is not now, it will be later."
What may open the door for Icardi to travel to Russia could be the injury sustained by Sergio Aguero earlier this month.
The Manchester City forward underwent surgery on his left knee last week, and while Icardi said that Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain are Argentina's two best centre-forwards, he does not know how Aguero's injury could affect his chances of being called up.
"The only thing that I hope is that he recovers soon, because everyone wants him to succeed and he knows the responsibility and the pride that comes with wearing that shirt."
The 35-man provisional squad lists for the World Cup must be confirmed by May 14, and FIFA has ruled that the 23-man teams must be finalised by June 4.
But Icardi said that regardless of whether he is called up by Sampaoli, he trusts that the coach will select the right players.
"I know them, I value them and I recognise them as footballers and as friends," Icardi said. "They deserve to be there. If they are selected, we should support them and trust them in the World Cup.
"Sampaoli knows that it is a great responsibility and that our role in the team has been deserved. He also knows that I am ready. On or off the team, I will still feel that I am with my teammates."
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