Inter Milan fans have called for Mauro Icardi to be stripped of the club captaincy after the Argentine international's comments regarding ultras in his recently published autobiography.
Icardi, writing in his book titled 'Always Ahead,' recalled an incident when a prominent member of the ultra group Curva Nord ripped a shirt from a child's hands to throw at his direction after the club lost to Sassuolo in February 2015.
"Icardi, as far as we are concerned, you're finished," a fan statement read.
"Why such squalid fiction? We are horrified, that book is ridiculous and with regards to that incident there are only lies.
Inter fans hold up a banner aimed at Mauro Icardi before today's game.— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) October 16, 2016
"You are not a man. You are not a captain. You are a piece of sh*t." pic.twitter.com/ND144s0Kgr
"We merely ask for effort and honesty, while he depicts us as threatening figures who gravitate around the club asking for who knows what, so evidently something is wired wrong in his head. An individual like this does not deserve the captain's armband."
Icardi's comments look like they will have serious repercussions for the player, who has been in outstanding form for Frank de Boer's Nerazzurri this season.
Despite scoring six times in seven league matches, the 23-year-old is set to be stripped of the captaincy after ominous comments made by Javier Zanetti, the club vice-president. Although Zanetti stopped short of confirming they would indeed take the armband away from Icardi, the club legend slammed his comments as 'unacceptable.'
“Will we be taking action? Unfortunately yes. The fans are the most important element, they accompany us and we all should respect them,” Zanetti told Mediaset Premium via Football Italia.
Javier Zanetti on the Mauro Icardi situation: "The fans are the most important thing. Remove him as captain? We'll talk about that later." pic.twitter.com/SZi5Egfojt— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) October 16, 2016
“We cannot accept this behaviour from a person who works for our club. After this match we will talk things over and see what happens.
“Will we remove the captain’s armband? We’ll talk about it later, but this is an issue not just for Icardi, but for everyone who is part of the club. Behaviour must be in line with the values of the history of Inter.
“Nobody expected this outburst, as you know we are concentrated on other objectives, but Inter stands beyond any individual person and we really could’ve done without this incident ahead of an important match.
“Unfortunately social media can be used in a negative fashion and we must safeguard the club. Every individual who works for Inter must be very careful on social media: he can write anything on his private life, but cannot damage the history of this club.”
Icardi responded to the ultras statement on Sunday morning via Instagram: “Dear Curva Nord, I am surprised and disappointed,” he wrote.
“I am surprised because I simply referred to the fact I lost my temper in the heat of the moment, combined with the adrenaline of the match and the bad moment the team was going through.
“I simply wanted to sum up the atmosphere of that incident. It’s true that in the book I spat out some exaggerated phrases (and the verb spat gives a good idea of how inopportune my reaction was).
“The captain’s armband represents the realisation of my childhood dreams, the joy that I gave first of all to my family and then to myself.
“You are the ones who I look out for every Sunday after scoring a goal, it is your embrace I seek first, because I love Inter.
“Imminently I will step on to the field, so I can’t go on any more. I hope you understood how important you are for me and how much respect and love I have for you, even if you decide to jeer me.
“I ask you just one thing as captain: stay close to Inter, as you always have done, because my teammates and I need you. With affection, Mauro.”