'The reintegration is taking place gradually' - Marotta clarifies Icardi position after Lazio omission

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The Inter striker was again left out despite having reached an agreement to return to training after being overlooked since February

Mauro Icardi's return to the Inter first team remains an ongoing process according to chief-executive Giuseppe Marotta after the Argentine was again left out of the squad to face Lazio.

Having not played since early February, amid talks over a new contract, the 26-year-old returned to first team training with the San Siro club during the international break.

The news followed suggestions from the Inter hierarchy that talks had taken place which would lead to Icardi once again being considered for selection.

Icardi was stripped of the captaincy at the start of last month and has not been involved in any of I Nerazzurri's last nine matches in all competitions.

Wife and agent Wanda Nara has revealed a resolution between both parties had been reached and he was therefore expected to be included in Luciano Spalletti's matchday squad for the visit of Lazio on Sunday.

But after he was once again overlooked, Marotta has clarified the situation and says Spalletti will dictate when Icardi is recalled.

"The reintegration of Icardi is taking place gradually," he told Sky Sport Italia. "The coach has the right to choose who he works with and who is selected.

"The club always needs to hold a position of leadership and Spalletti has always worked in this way, thinking about the good of Inter."

Though Inter deny there is a link between the two events, the actions against Icardi come at a time when his contract is being renegotiated.

But a number of public statements made by Nara during the talks are said to have left the Inter hierarchy disappointed after she asked for her husband's value to be respected.

Though he is braced to return to the Inter team at some stage before the end of the season, his future beyond the summer is likely to be elsewhere.

Serie A champions Juventus, 13-time Champions League winners Real Madrid and Premier League giants Chelsea - despite their looming transfer ban - are among the clubs reported to be keen on taking advantage of the situation.

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The furore over Icardi's future has come amid Inter's fight for a Champions League place. They suffered a blow to those ambitions when they were knocked out of the Europa League by Eintracht Frankfurt, and vice-president Javier Zanetti wants the focus to return to matters on the field.

"I think we have talked about him too much,"he said of his fellow-countryman.

"Now we must focus on the field because it is fundamental for the season finale."

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