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Thursday, 21 November 2019

PSG's Icardi relieved focus back on football after Inter Milan circus

AFP , Wednesday 16 Oct 2019
Mauro Icardi
Argentine forward Mauro Icardi (C) has scored two goals for Paris Saint-Germain. (AFP)
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Argentina striker Mauro Icardi said Wednesday he was enjoying the focus being back on football and away from his private life at French club Paris Saint-Germain.

The former Inter Milan captain arrived in the French capital on loan this season and after recovering from injury has scored two goals in the Champions League and Ligue 1.

"In Italy a vicious circle had been created in certain journalistic circles where we always ended up talking a little too much about anything concerning me," Icardi said in an interview with Italian sports daily Gazzetta Dello Sport.

"Here in Paris it's not like this."

Icardi was the joint top-scorer in Serie A in 2017-18 with 29 goals. But last season, he was stripped of the club captaincy amid a long contract dispute and later barred from full training.

The 26-year-old's life with his television host wife Wanda Nara, who is also his agent, had also become the focus of many reports.

Despite parting on bad terms the forward said he had no hard feelings towards the Italian club he joined in 2013 and scored 120 goals in just over 220 matches.

"I can only wish the best for Inter in every competition," said Icardi.

"I'm good now, I'm up and running again even if I have to keep working because I had a complicated summer and I wasn't one hundred percent when I arrived in Paris."

PSG are unbeaten on top of Ligue 1, and are also leading their Champions League group which includes Real Madrid.

"I've always been used to pressure but I think it helps that we've almost always won so far," said the former Sampdoria player.

"It's a little different than Inter even though I don't have a real yardstick to compare because I haven't played in other great teams in the past.

"PSG has the right players to do well but the Champions is a trophy coveted by all the great teams."

Icardi said he had settled in to life in France even if he still considered Milan his home.

"I didn't expect so much support from the fans.

"They welcomed me right from my first warm-up at Parc des Princes. I then had the good fortune of playing right away against Real Madrid, before picking up a slight injury.

"(PSG coach Thomas) Tuchel is very friendly with the players. He talks a lot, jokes, tried to put me at ease from day one.

"I think I made a good impression on him.

"Neymar, (Kylian) Mbappé, (Edinson) Cavani, are all strong players.

"It is nice to play with star players who change matches even at the last minute, like Neymar does."

Icardi added that he had a healthy competition with Uruguayan striker Cavani.

"With Edy I have a great relationship. It's not rivalry, just healthy competition," said Icardi.

"In this period Edy was injured so I had the chance to play immediately.

"When he comes back, it will be up to the coach to choose the best one to send onto the pitch."

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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