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Martinez: Inter players hope Icardi returns soon

05:32 GMT+3 20/02/2019
Mauro Icardi Inter 2018-19
The forward offered his support to his countryman and team-mate, whose future at the club remains uncertain

Lautaro Martinez said he hopes Mauro Icardi returns soon as he lent his support to the former Inter captain.

Icardi's future at Inter is uncertain after he was stripped of the captaincy last week and replaced by goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

The 26-year-old, who has been linked with Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barcelona, was absent for the Europa League clash against Rapid Vienna and the Serie A victory over Sampdoria.

Icardi is reportedly set to undergo tests to determine the extent of his apparent injuries and fellow Argentinian Martinez said he and his team-mates are supportive of the forward.

"Today [Tuesday] was his birthday, we said goodbye and congratulated him, he was happy to be with us," Martinez told Sky Sport Italia .

"We will continue to support him, as his future will depend exclusively on his decision and who manages it: not by us team-mates.

"For us he is a very important player. We hope to have him back soon."

Icardi has not played since losing the armband but prior to that, he went seven Serie A matches without a goal.

His wife and agent, Wanda Nara, claimed Icardi was blindsided by the club's decision to strip him of the armband

But the club still claim they want their star man to stay for a long time to come and that they have never doubted the Argentine. 

Inter face the return leg of their Europa League round of 32 tie on Thursday against Rapid Wien having claimed a 1-0 result in the first leg without Icardi.  

The club then face Fiorentina on Sunday as they look to solidify their spot inside Serie A’s top three.  

Inter currently hold a four-point lead over fourth-placed Milan and boast a five-point lead on fifth-placed Roma.  

A place in the Champions League next season is about the best the club can hope for from the league this term, with Juventus 20 full points clear them at the top of Serie A.