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Mauro Icardi still not available, Inter confirm

4:26 AM GMT+8 23/03/2019
mauroicardi - Cropped
The striker hasn't featured for the Nerazzurri for over a month following a reported contract stand-off

Inter have confirmed Mauro Icardi is not ready to return to action as he needs to build up his fitness levels.

Icardi was stripped of the captaincy by head coach Luciano Spalletti last month and has not played since.

The striker claimed to have been injured but Inter initially said tests could not uncover a specific issue.

A contract row between Icardi, his agent Wanda Nara and Inter is reportedly behind the stand-off between club and player.

But director of Inter's medical department Piero Volpi has signalled Icardi could be back in action soon.

"He underwent the first stage of physiotherapy before an individual spell of rehabilitation," he told the club's website.

"He's joining up with the group again, catching up with his team-mates. We'll evaluate his condition next week and only then can we say how long will be required before he's fully available.

"We'll continue with the normal process, like with all of our players. You start with individual work, then you train in part with the rest of the squad before returning fully."

Inter's form has been good despite Icardi's absence, with Spalletti's side beating AC Milan 3-2 in their last game to leapfrog their rivals into third place in Serie A.

Volpi also gave an update on a calf strain suffered by Radja Nainggolan earlier this month, the latest in a number of injuries suffered by the Belgian this season.

"Nainggolan is recovering from the problem that he had around 15 days ago. He's improving and we're finalising his individual plan," he added. "Like with Icardi, we'll evaluate him at the start of next week and see when he can return to training with the group."

There was also good news regarding the fitness of Stefan de Vrij, who was forced to miss the Netherlands’ 4-0 European Championship qualifying win over Belarus on Thursday with a minor injury.

"With regard to De Vrij, the Dutch doctor who we have an excellent relationship with like with all national team staff, informed us of the issue. It should only be a case of fatigue because the ultrasound tests came back negative."