Recap: Sivasspor vs Galatasaray 2:1 (Sport 1)
When Inter travel to Istanbul for the Champions League final on June 10, they won't miss Mauro Icardi. The former captain, once San Siro's black-and-blue side idol, is a distant memory and feels like ancient history. The tone of the farewell was jarring, and without him the team had already won the championship to which he could not lead. Now she is also honored to compete in Europe's prestigious game in order to win the coveted trophy for the first time since 2010, but she should know that in Turkey's largest city she is also a guest of Icardi. He is the king of Istanbul at the moment, and tonight (22pm, Sport00) he will aim to become champion when Galatasaray take on Ankargugu, and a win would be enough to secure a place at the top for the Lions, ending a 1-year drought.
And who knows, maybe in his current form Icardi wouldn't have hurt Inter. Well, that's just a joke, because Lautaro Martinez is hot, and Romelu Lukaku and Edin Dzeko collaborate well with him these days, but in Turkish football terms her ex is unstoppable. With 4 goals in Galatasaray's last 10 league games, he is one of the key players responsible for the upcoming championship, and overall his record is impressive - 7 goals and 19 assists in just 7 league games. During this period, the yellow-and-red fans are in love with him and have their fingers crossed with the management in negotiating with Paris Saint-Germain to ensure his stay in Istanbul. After all, this season he is just on loan from the Qataris, who really don't need him back.
19 goals and 7 assists in 22 league games. Icardi (Photo by Getty Images, Jean Catuffe)
With the Qataris, Icardi wasted three years of his career. The move was puzzling from the start, when it became clear that he had no future at Inter because relations with management and ultras had reached the point of no return, but because he was a superstar with a monstrous salary there were not too many buyers, and the approach taken by the striker himself did not help. Instead of looking for the best option professionally, he was stuck in Milan until the final day of the transfer window even after Lukaku arrived from Manchester United and received his number 9 shirt. So finally the loan was arranged for Saint-Germain, where the dressing room suffers from a constant excess of ego, and Icardi's special character was not easy to find a suitable place. Even on the pitch, the competition for a place in the line-up was not easy when Kylian Mbappé insisted on playing on the left and Neymar was shifted to the centre.
So the first season, which was positive in terms of scoring average, was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, and then Icardi found himself on the bench in the semi-finals and Champions League final, despite having scored 5 goals in the factory earlier. And after the Qataris paid €60 million for him that summer despite restrictions, the bench became his permanent home. Frequent injuries didn't help, then Leo Messi arrived in August 2021, and Icardi's condition worsened even more. After all, every Argentine knows that the flea does not tolerate the striker who once started out in La Masia like him. The fact that Icardi's career with the national team was limited to 8 games and ended back in 2018 is because Messi was unwilling to see him - because he "stole" his wife from his good friend Maxi Lopes. Wanda, who soon also became Icardi's agent, defined his entire life in no small measure. And so, even in Paris, most tabloid reports focused on his private life, rather than his performance on the pitch.
In fact, this was also the case at the beginning of his term in Turkey. After scoring just 5 times in all competitions last season, and approaching his 30th birthday, Icardi realized that he needed to lower his expectations a bit and move to a team where he could express himself on a weekly basis, before being mockingly described as a former player who forgot to retire. The question to Galatasaray answered the demands, especially since their new coach Okan Boruc is an Ex Inter who wore the Nerazzurri shirt at the turn of the millennium. The man who won seven titles as a player returned home in the summer to reclaim the crown, because he already has receipts - he marched Istanbul to the title in Shaksehir in 7. As part of the extensive changes to the roster made at his request, Icardi was reserved a place of honor, but even Borok did not appreciate how great Wanda's influence was.
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Delete it in Paris. Messi and Icardi (Photo by Getty Images, Jean Catuffe)
In September, the model/agent announced that the two were divorcing because the business was out of control. He betrayed her, and she betrayed him – and that's not exactly the section where this kind of slime is delved into, but the bottom line is that Icardi flew to Buenos Aires to confront her over a kiss without the club's approval, and the Turkish newspapers cheered. While the striker's head wasn't exactly focused on football, his ability was meager, and pundits dropped the bag on him after the loss to Kayserispor. The encounter against Alanyaspor was billed as a last chance for the Argentine, before Borok brings back longtime fan favourite Baptimbi Gomis. Journalist Levant Tuzman stated: "If Icardi continues to play, we will lose Gomis and Haris Seferovic, and the coach will lose the trust of the players. Gomis and Seferovich work and invest in defense, and give their best. Icardi doesn't do anything, and it's not fair to let him play."
So in the particular game against Alanyaspor Icardi found the net, and so the ice was broken. Two weeks later, he had already bombed a pair en route to a crucial 1-2 victory over Besiktas in the derby, and his attitude towards him began to change. The yellow-and-red side of Istanbul embraced him especially when he completed Fenerbahce's defeat in an even more important derby in early January, and more in the stadium of their arch-rivals. The Argentine made it 0-3 in the 99th minute and showed off the number 99 shirt - that's what they gave him because Seferovic grabbed the number 9. So the Swiss, who was on loan from Benfica, had already left in January for loan at Celta Vigo, while Gomis was unfortunately left out of the line-up. The year 2023 belongs to Icardi, and it is likely that this is happening because the conflict with Wanda has calmed down.
The business is out of control. Wanda Nara (Photo by Getty Images, Jean Catuffe)
After many reports of divorce, the scandalous couple decided to make up (at least for now), and Icardi can now concentrate mainly on football. And he does it to the best of his ability. His collaboration with Dries Mertens is getting better, and with Nicolo Zaniolo, who came from Rome, he also found a common language. After all, he learned Italian quite well during his time in the land of the boot. Fenerbahce tried to give a fight, but Galatasaray was a bit more stable, setting a record of 14 consecutive league wins between October and March. By May, the stage was all Icardi, and he signed the duo in 0-2 wins over İstanbulspor and Sivasspor. Now the coveted title is within touching distance.
Galatasaray host Fenerbahce on Sunday, and it may be tempting to win the title at the expense of their arch-rivals, but no one wants to risk it. It would be better to take the points tonight at Ancaragugio, and leave the derby for celebration purposes in the game for the record. Then Icardi and his loyal agent will be free to engineer the deal that will keep him on the team. "Mauro is a professional, and we all hope he will be with us next season," Borrock said. He feels at home in Istanbul. Who knows, maybe that's a positive sign for Inter as well?
- World Football
- Mauro Icardi