Icardi: Aguero and Higuain deserve to go to Russia

  • ​Mauro Icardi discusses his World Cup ‘dream’

  • He believes Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain warrant places

  • Icardi graciously insists that, in or out, he’ll be fully behind Argentina

Mauro Icardi has expressed his desire for a 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ call-up, insisted Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain deserve to go, and declared that whether selected or not, he is 100 per cent behind Argentina.

The 25-year-old resisted overtures from Italy to commit himself to his country of birth, for whom he debuted in 2013. Despite an outstanding scoring record for Inter Milan, however, he only has four caps to his name and is yet to break his international duck. With Lionel Messi an automatic on Jorge Sampaoli’s 23-man list for Russia, Icardi appears to be battling it out with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Angel Correa, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain, Lautaro Martinez and Cristian Pavon for places.

"I’m 25 years old, I’ve been captain of Inter for three years, I’ve entered the club’s history with my goals,” the former Barcelona youth player told Ole. “I dream of going to the World Cup, whether that is now or later. I have that goal.

“But I don’t live life feeling pressurised or going crazy. If it is not now, it will be later. And whether I am in or out of the squad [for Russia], I am behind my team-mates. [Sampaoli] knows that."

Aguero recently underwent knee surgery, but he and Higuain remain the favourites to assume two of the forwards’ berths in Argentina’s squad. Icardi insisted he doesn’t consider himself to be in a battle for places with Aguero and Higuain.

“I don’t think about it,” he said. “They stand out as footballers and team-mates. They deserve to go. They are the most experienced.

“I hope Aguero recovers soon, because everyone wants him to succeed and he knows the responsibility and pride that comes with wearing the shirt. If they are selected, we must support them and trust them at the World Cup.

“Sampaoli knows the forwards have a great responsibility and that our role on the pitch is decisive. He also knows that I will be ready if called upon. I believe the players in the best form will go to Russia. But on or off the list, I am fully behind my team-mates.”

Argentina begin their Russia 2018 campaign against Iceland in Moscow on 16 June. They also face Croatia and Nigeria in a competitive Group D.

Argentina will be appearing at their 12th World Cup in succession – a figure bettered only by Brazil (21) and Germany (17).


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