Lionel Scaloni explains reason behind Mauro Icardi’s snub for Copa America

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni has indicated that the recent omission of Mauro Icardi from the Copa America squad has nothing to do with his recent situation at Inter Milan. The marksman endured a difficult second half to the season with Inter where he was stripped from the captaincy and he thereafter refused to play for a brief period before making a comeback.

Speaking in a press conference, Scaloni said that the striker’s antics at the Nerazzurri did not play a part in the selection process but rather the decision was made based on the performance of the players in the national team pool. He said: “Seeing as there’s such a big pool of top players to choose from, it’s normal that there are doubts. Keeping everyone happy is difficult, especially for a national team.

“The final decision is always for the good of the team. We met until we took a final decision. There were doubts along the way. There’s never been any talk of denying someone a call-up. We named the squad without closing our doors to anyone. I’m sorry for those not on the list. We wanted to call up more, but we had to pick 23 players and make a decision.”

Icardi experienced a difficult second half to the season where he was struggling to regularly find the scoresheet and that remained the case during the closing stages of the campaign where he scored just once from the penalty spot. As such, there are no question marks with regards to the manager’s decision and Argentina are likely to depend on some of the seniors to deliver the goods.

Argentina have ended as the runners up in each of the previous two editions of the Copa America but they have the chance to put things right this time around. Lionel Messi will once more lead the team after barring featuring over the past year and he is expected to share some of the scoring burden alongside Sergio Aguero, who has been a consistent goalscorer through the season with Manchester City.