Icardi must keep performing to earn Argentina recall, says Zanetti

The only way for Mauro Icardi to prove Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli wrong is to keep impressing for Inter, according to Javier Zanetti.

Inter captain Mauro Icardi   -  Getty Images

Javier Zanetti remains hopeful that Mauro Icardi can earn a place in Argentina's World Cup squad if he performs for Inter.

Nerazzurri captain Icardi has not been included in Jorge Sampaoli's latest selection, with the coach claiming the "transition of his performance from Inter to Argentina weren't the best".

But Inter vice-president Zanetti - himself formerly an Argentina international - still believes the opportunity is there for Icardi to go to Russia as long as the 22-goal forward continues to deliver in Serie A.

"I do not know what Sampaoli's final decision will be," Zanetti told Premium Sport. "I can only say that we are very happy with Mauro - he is our captain and he is proving his worth.

"He is showing that he can aspire to go to the World Cup, but I do not know when and how decisions will be made. The most important thing is that Mauro goes on like this and I hope for him that he can go to the World Cup."

Inter are closing in on the signing of Argentina forward Lautaro Martinez, but Zanetti added that this will not be a problem for Icardi.

"Lautaro has a bright future ahead of him," he said. "He can play together with Mauro."

And after Inter climbed back into the Champions League places in Serie A last weekend, Zanetti is well aware that a derby clash with AC Milan in the coming weeks will prove decisive in their European bid.

"Yes, it will be decisive for fourth place," he said. "The derby is always a very important game because it is very heartfelt. These will be two big teams that have the same goal.

"But first we have to think about Verona, then we will prepare for the match against Milan."

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