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Bauza has no excuse in denying Mauro Icardi his Argentina call-up

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Inter captain Mauro Icardi has played only seven minutes for the Argentina senior national team and that was over four years ago in 2013. Considering the 24-year-old’s goal-scoring proficiency in the last three years, the fact that he hasn’t even been given a chance on Argentina’s squad who, come crunch time, completely fail, is inexcusable. Yes, this is the same Argentina that, in two consecutive Copa America finals, scored ZERO goals in total. Why not have Mauro Icardi as an option, even if coming off the bench against tired legs? The fact of the matter is, he SHOULD be on Argentina and one can even make the justified argument that he deserves to be the spearhead of Argentina’s attack.

Icardi is a goal machine. Flat out. To not call up a player because others won’t let bygones be bygones is counterintuitive to a team that wants to win. There is no official reason why the Inter captain has continually been left out of Argentina’s squad for four years. It is, however, universally accepted that captain Lionel Messi and coach Edgardo Bauza are close with Maxi Lopez who had his marriage broken up by Icardi. Now married to Lopez’s ex-wife, Wanda Nara, Icardi is not welcomed anywhere near the albiceleste colors.

Aside from his off-the-pitch ‘fiasco’ which happened years ago and, seriously, shouldn’t even be spoken about anymore, Mauro Icardi is consistently one of the world’s most prolific strikers at 24-years-old. If the excuse that he was only a poacher was what kept him from being called up, that terribly awful excuse no longer exists. Previously criticized for sluggishly wandering the pitch until given an opportunity to poach, the former Barcelona youth is not only the Nerazzurri’s top scorer, but he is also the assist leader; alongside Antonio Candreva with eight assists in a team that boasts the likes of Ever Banega, Ivan Perisic and Joao Mario. Inter’s attack now flows through Icardi rather than only ending with him and it shows. He now takes on defenders and has displayed immense vision in this newly-cohesive Inter squad.

Luis Suarez, who is universally accepted as the best current striker in the world, has almost identical numbers to Mauro Icardi, however, the latter is working with less talented players than the Barcelona star, who can boast playing with Messi and Neymar. Edinson Cavani leads Europe’s top five leagues with 27 goals, followed by Messi (23), Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Andrea Belotti who are all tied in third with 22. Robert Lewandowski is fourth with 21 goals, while Mauro Icardi and Luis Suarez both sit in fifth with 20 goals. Yes, he has even scored more than Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and fellow countryman Gonzalo Higuain with 19 goals.

Inter Milan’s forward from Argentina Mauro Icardi (R) celebrates after scoring a goal next to Inter Milan’s forward Eder during the Italian Serie A football match Inter Milan vs Palermo at “San Siro” Stadium in Milan on August 28, 2016. / AFP / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

With nine assists each, Thomas Muller, Alexis Sanchez, Jose Callejon and Luis Suarez are the only players in Europe’s top five leagues with more assists than Icardi, who has eight. Aside from Messi (30) and Suarez (29), no player in Europe’s top five leagues has been more directly involved in goals than the Inter captain (28). Also, no player in Europe’s top five leagues has scored more in multiples this season than Icardi; that’s six braces and a hat trick.

In any world, Icardi should be tasseling with the likes of Higuain and Aguero for Argentina’s starting spot, who have 19 and 12 goals in Serie A and the Premier League, respectively. Instead, the Argentine is struggling to be called up as a reserve, consistently losing out to Sao Paolo’s 29-year-old striker Lucas Pratto who hasn’t been relevant, well, ever. In fact, Icardi already has scored seven more goals than Pratto, who has been playing for five more years than Icardi and against much tougher opponents. Argentina coach Bauza has stated that if Pratto wasn’t available, Mauro would be Bauza’s first choice for the bench. Coincidentally, Pratto broke his nose against Palmeiras last weekend which might cause him to be unavailable for selection. In contrast, Icardi netted a nine-minute hat trick at the weekend against Atalanta in which Inter ultimately won 7-1. Now would seem like the perfect time for Bauza to give the star striker his rightful call to the national team as they face Chile and Bolivia at the end of the month for World Cup qualifiers.

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