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'Worth more than Messi & Ronaldo combined!' - Icardi to make Inter return

17:03 GMT+3 02/04/2019
Mauro Icardi Inter 2018-19
The Nerazzurri have not called upon the Argentine for almost two months but the former captain will return to lead the attack on Wednesday

Luciano Spalletti has expressed his belief that Mauro Icardi is more valuable than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, after ending his exile from the Inter line-up.

Icardi has not featured for Inter since a 1-0 win at Parma on February 9, with speculation over his future, a contract stand-off and conflicting fitness claims all playing a part in the ensuing saga.

The 26-year-old trained before the 1-0 weekend loss at home to Lazio but was told to "stay away" by Spalletti following reports of a fresh dressing room incident.

But the slate appears to be clean once more for the Argentina international, whose head coach was keen to present a united front at his pre-match news conference after fruitful work behind the scenes from chief executive Beppe Marotta .

Spalletti opened by saying Icardi is more important to Inter than Ronaldo and Messi are to Juventus and Barcelona respectively, before praising him for showing the correct mentality during a testing period.

"In the context of our team, Icardi is worth more than Messi and Ronaldo put together. He is now in a position to help the team," the Italian boss began.

"Icardi is available. The work done by Marotta has been instrumental in ensuring that all parties can take part in real and not virtual discussions.

"He will start. He's shown the right reaction mentally – something which is more important than the physical side of things.

"We'll see how long he'll be able to remain on the pitch and if we'll need to take him off.

"The squad is together as one. And a strong squad is something that defines Inter."

Inter remain third in Serie A, two points ahead of rivals AC Milan, although they might still rue missing the opportunity to take Lazio – five points back in fifth – out of the Champions League equation.

"We'll go again from our third-place position with all of our potential available," Spalletti added.

"This will allow us to fight right until the very end to reach our goal of qualifying for the Champions League."