In our Player of the Year poll, and with a massive 62% of the votes, the winner was Argentine striker and Inter Captain Mauro Icardi.
Milan’s 17 year old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was second, followed by Gonzalo Higuain in third place who finished as the top goalscorer in Serie A last season. 2016 was the year Icardi really stepped up his game to another level as he aimed to take Inter into the Champions League. Unfortunately, the Nerazzurri finished fourth and another year went by without Europe’s biggest competition at the San Siro for Inter. A huge topic of discussion was Mauro Icardi’s future at the club in the summer.
Juventus and Napoli were linked with moves for the Argentine, as well as Atletico Madrid and Manchester United. A fee of 45-55m euros was discussed but a move never really happened as Icardi decided to pen a new long term contract with a 110m euros buy out clause, stating that “my dream is to win major trophies with this club.” Despite the managerial changes with Mancini leaving, De Boer coming in only to be sacked months later and replaced by Stefano Pioli, off the field issues with the fans about his autobiography hasn’t fazed the No 9 striker as he continues to score goals. Inter are climbing the table, and Icardi currently tops the goalscoring charts with 14 goals, two behind last season’s total.
Barring injury, the Argentine should surpass the twenty-goal marker before the end of the season as he aims to win a second Capocannoniere title with the club. The range of goals he scored last year is incredible at the age of 23 as he improves his game as a striker. His aeriel threat in the box has improved a lot this season; five headed goals already this season, making him a complete striker with his ability to be a threat in the air as well as getting in behind team’s defence’s.
Mauro Icardi in 2016 for @Inter (all competitions):
— Matthew Santangelo 🇺🇸🇵🇱🇮🇹 (@Matt_Santangelo) December 30, 2016
Highs and Lows of 2016
- Ends Napoli’s title challenge
- Two goal comeback win over Pescara
- His 50th goal for the club
- Non-existent in both Milan matches
- World Class performance vs Juventus
What can we expect in 2017? A rejuvenated Inter side under Pioli are now within 5 pts of 3rd placed Napoli in the race for Champions League football. That should be the main target for a big team like the Nerazzurri.
Icardi as always will play a crucial part going forward and will look to reach double figures for the second time in his career. He currently leads the goal scoring charts with 14 goals, one ahead of Andrea Belotti (Torino) and Edin Dzeko (Roma).
A return to the National team has to be on the players mind going forward, but with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala and Carlos Tevez ahead of him. Until some of those players step away from the squad, it seems Icardi will never get the chance to stake his claim as the main striker for Argentina.
He recently signed a new long term contract with the club, but a potential summer move away from the club cannot be ruled out if he continues his current form for the club. The tension with the Inter ultras also cannot be ignored after his comments about the supporters in his autobiography. If Inter fail to qualify for the Champions League next season, his future may lie elsewhere. Regardless, 2016 belonged to the Inter captain.