No chance Icardi going to Juventus, says Inter President Zhang

MILAN (AFP) – Inter Milan’s Chinese president Steven Zhang on Monday ruled out selling unsettled Argentine forward Mauro Icardi to Serie A rivals Juventus.

It follows comments from Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici that the champions would keep an eye on the striker’s situation in the summer after he was stripped of the captain’s armband during the week.

“Will Icardi ever join Juventus? No, never,” said Zhang after a shareholders’ meeting at the San Siro on Monday.

“This has been spoken about a lot in the past week and a lot of confusion has been created.

“I would like to put an end to this topic because the club has already made a decision and continuing to talk about it doesn’t help us to achieve our goals.

“Icardi is a great player, he’s a professional and a very important member of our family.

“We are in negotiations to renew his contract, and he’s an important player for this club.”

Icardi, who turned 26 yesterday, watched from the stands with his wife and agent Wanda Nara as Inter beat Sampdoria 2-1 last Sunday.

Icardi arrived from Sampdoria in 2013 and has scored 122 goals in 210 games, winning the award for Serie A’s most prolific scorer twice.

Nara tearfully revealed last Sunday that the forward had only learned of his demotion on Twitter.

“It was like taking away a leg. It is not our intention to leave,” Nara told Mediaset’s football talk show Tiki Taka.

It had been her comments on the show last week had infuriated Inter directors and the player’s teammates.

“If I had to choose between a new contract and the arrival of someone who will give Icardi five decent passes per game, I’d prefer the latter,” she said.

Meanwhile, the club’s new Board of Directors was approved on Monday after Chinese private-equity fund LionRock Capital’s purchased a 31.05 per cent stake from Indonesian businessman and former owner Erick Thohir.

Daniel Tseung and Tom Pitts of LionRock Capital were appointed to the board.