​​Inter Milan’s sporting director Piero Ausilio has confirmed that the club’s decision to strip the captaincy away from their talisman Mauro Icardi was “for the good of the club” and that despite this issue, they hope to keep him at the San Siro for a long time to come.

The club generated headlines when they confirmed the decision to hand over the armband to goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, while also dropping the striker from their squad for the first-leg clash against Rapid Vienna in the round of 32 fixtures of the Europa League.

Ausilio for his part believes that the right decision was made in the interests of the squad, claiming that the uncertain future of the Argentinian at the club will not be affected by it.

“A decision was made that everyone agreed with, and it was a painful one to make. The reasons are serious and valid; there’s nothing to explain. Mauro remains important to us. He still has a lot to give to Inter. We are not questioning him as a professional or as a striker, which is why I hope he stays with us for a long time yet. ‘Us’ is the key word here and must always prevail for the good of the club and the changing room,” he said as quoted by ​Goal.

“We have taken measures – and it’s the last thing we would have wanted to do – after letting something slide in the past. It might seem like a step backwards, but in terms of the future it’s 10 steps forward. We’ll speak with Icardi, although it’s not right to speak of talks to clear the air because he’s never been put in discussion and he’s a great player. If he likes, we’ll set conditions to follow.

“Contract discussions have in no way been affected by these events – it’s a totally different subject.”

The 25-year-old who is in his sixth season with the club has once again been in brilliant form this season, scoring 15 goals in 28 appearances and has been linked with a move to rivals Juventus and a host of top European clubs.

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