• Serie A

Icardi taunts Sampdoria after handshake snub

ESPN staff
April 14, 2014
Inter's Mauro Icardi, seen goading the home fans, left Sampdoria last year © Getty Images

Mauro Icardi was both praised and reprimanded by Inter Milan coach Walter Mazzarri at the end of a turbulent day in Genoa.

Not only was Sunday's clash at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris about Sampdoria against Inter: it also centred on two men whose love triangle has been claiming a fair share of the headlines and filling the gossip columns in Italy - Icardi and Maxi Lopez.

The former is in a relationship with the latter's ex-wife, and the duo no longer speak despite being friends in their days together at Sampdoria. Lopez refused to shake Icardi's hand prior to Sunday's fixture, igniting even more ire in Icardi, who channelled his anger into scoring two goals in the Nerazzurri's 4-0 win.

Lopez missed a penalty as his emotions got the better of him, but it was Icardi's reaction to his first goal - cupping his ears to the home fans and earning a booking in the process - which earned him a warning from Mazzarri.

"Up until his goal, he had conducted himself perfectly," La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Mazzarri as saying. "All he then had to do was go back to the centre of the field and not make that gesture, even if it didn't seem to be anything scandalous."

Prior to his goal, though, Mazzarri said he could have no complaints about Icardi's performance on a day when all of the eyes in the Ferraris were fixed on him.

"He did his job and showed great personality, considering the atmosphere which had been created around him," continued Mazzarri.

"If he carries on like this, and we manage to get rid of all the superfluous things about him, then he's going to become a great player.

"He's a striker with a true striker's characteristics, and he just has to focus on his football. Personal things need to be put to one side. Footballers are professionals and they mustn't forget that."

Meanwhile, Sampdoria's assistant coach Nenad Sakic - standing in for the suspended Sinisa Mihajlovic on the bench - felt Icardi had been disrespectful with his celebration.

"Icardi lost the real battle with Lopez," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "You cannot celebrate like that, particularly in front of the fans who have supported you and helped you so much in the past."

Icardi was given his break in Serie A with Sampdoria, whom he joined from Barcelona's youth team in 2010, and scored 11 goals in 33 games for the Blucerchiati.

The Argentinian stopped short of apologising after the game, but showed that he had not forgotten where he came from, thanking Sampdoria fans for their previous support.

"It was great for me to come back to Marassi," he told Inter Channel. "I started my career here and I'll never forget that, in spite of the whistles."

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