Inter's Mauro Icardi: Edgardo Bauza 'wanted to call me up' for Argentina
Mauro Icardi says that former Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza was on the verge of calling him up before he was sacked.
Bauza overlooked Icardi during his reign with the national team, in spite of excellent form for Inter Milan in Serie A. The Inter captain has scored 74 goals in 141 games for the Nerazzurri, yet that was not enough to convince Bauza.
Icardi says he was on Bauza's radar, though, because Inter's vice-president Javier Zanetti had been receiving messages to that effect.
"I do my work here to be called up to the national team as a reward," Icardi said at a news conference. "Bauza had spoken with Zanetti, who showed me the messages -- Bauza wanted to call me up.
"Now we'll have to see which new coach arrives. I just continue to work hard in this shirt and the national team would be a reward."
Argentina sacked Bauza earlier this week with their hopes of qualifying for next year's World Cup in jeopardy. They currently lie fifth in South American qualification with four rounds of matches to go, and only the top four are guaranteed a ticket to Russia.
Icardi, therefore, will have to impress somebody else if he is to earn a recall, having represented his country only once, and he believes the best way to do that is with a goal in Saturday's Derby della Madonnina against AC Milan.
"It would be great to score, if I can -- it would be another goal for my career and it would be very important," he said. "For me, as Inter captain, scoring in the derby would be very satisfying and I want to do it.
"I'm only four goals from the top of the scoring charts and it is my job to score goals. I've got 20 so far and I think it's been a positive season. I scored a lot early on and you can't score in every game -- forwards always have dry spells, but I've been very consistent. I score plenty -- I've scored regularly in each season I've been at Inter, so I'm very happy with this."
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.