Icardi is no traitor: Tardelli defends Inter man after Maradona attack

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The Azzurri legend wants Icardi to be judged for on-field matters, while stating his faith that Balotelli can be one of the world's best

World Cup-winning former Italy player Marco Tardelli believes criticism of Mauro Icardi is unjustified. 

The Argentine has been the subject of a stinging verbal rebuke from compatriot Diego Maradona over the Inter captain's marriage to the ex-wife of former team-mate Maxi Lopez. 

But Tardelli pointed out that he should be judged solely on what he does on the pitch. 

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"Icardi wants to live his life, he is not a traitor and nobody has to tell him what to think," he said of the 23-year-old to Omnisport

"Icardi is doing well at Inter, is he not? He is scoring a lot and last year found the net 20 times. He has a lot of quality. If [in Argentina] they link him to gossip, well... even Maradona was linked to gossip."

Tardelli also backed Mario Balotelli to achieve his potential after a difficult few years.

Balotelli has struggled to fulfil the promise he showed at Inter and Manchester City, drifting through an indifferent spell at AC Milan before failing miserably to make an impact at Liverpool.

The striker has offered a reminder of what he is capable of after leaving Anfield for Nice in August, scoring nine goals in 11 Ligue 1 appearances. 

And Tardelli, who won the 1982 World Cup with the Azzurri and starred for Juventus and Inter during his impressive career, backed the wayward forward to get it right before it is too late.

"I am always in favour of giving a player his last chance and Balotelli can still become a great player," the five-time Scudetto winner said.

"So far he is not accomplished as a player but boasts an immense talent. I hope he can do it. It will be very hard for him but I hope he can make it."

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