Inter manager Luciano Spalletti has revealed that it was in fact Mauro Icardi's decision to not travel for the Europa League clash with Rapid Wien, not a managerial snub.
It was announced on Wednesday morning that Icardi had been stripped of the Nerazzurri captaincy after his drawn out contract talks with club caused a rift in relations, with veteran goalkeeper Samir Handanovic taking over as new club captain.
And subsequently, the matchday squad for the game in Vienna was revealed, with the Argentine absent, in a suspected punishment.
However, the tactician revealed a different tale in his pre-match press conference, as quoted by Calciomercato. Spalletti proclaimed: "There is a very important match on the way, then there will be time to clarify the situation, it is a difficult and painful decision made for the good of the team.
"Icardi was summoned, it is he who did not come in. After Parma I said certain things because obviously there was a need to speak. I do not deal with contracts, you have to talk to them [the directors].
"The decision was made at the right time, it is a painful decision but well-reasoned. Sometimes, to love, things must be said as they think. There are situations in football, in life, that do not go over again."
🎙️ | #Spalletti: "Taking the armband off Icardi was a difficult and painful decision, but we know his worth. However, we took it together with all of the club's components involved. It was done exclusively for the good of Inter." #RapidInter #UEL #FCIM pic.twitter.com/EkVVHB4FOG— Inter (@Inter_en) February 13, 2019
And, as quoted by the club's official twitter page, Spalletti continued: "Taking the armband off Icardi was a difficult and painful decision, but we know his worth. However, we took it together with all of the club's components involved. It was done exclusively for the good of Inter."
Icardi's absence ensures Lautaro Martinez of a starring role, and the 59-year-old confirmed: "We'll see Lautaro tomorrow, a striker who's just as strong and who already proved this on Sunday. From him, like all of the rest, we expect the same kind of contribution as always."