Where it all went wrong for Mauro Icardi

Mauro Icardi is a prodigious football talent, who at 23 years-of-age can count captaining Internazionale and top-scoring in the 2014-2015 Serie A among his career highlights. He's been the subject of frenzied transfer speculation, with his name linked to a host of the world's top clubs over the past two seasons. 

But something strange happened to Icardi this morning. When he shanked a penalty kick that would have given his club the lead at home against Cagliari, the vocal home support cheered, appearing to revel in the player's misfortune. 

The moment was a poignant reminder that for all Icardi's talent on the field, a series of events off it have led to an almost untenable situation with his club's most important stake-holders, its supporters. Icardi is also on the outer with his national team, Argentina. 

So where did it all go wrong for a player stacked with football talent?

1. Clashing with ultras

The 23 year-old’s autobiography (that’s right, a 23 year-old with an autobiography) has sparked the ire of Inter fans, by bragging about his 'hero' status after confronting a leader of the club's ultra supporter group, Curva Nord.

"As I get closer, I receive insults and abuse of every kind. Attached to the netting is a kid who calls me: he wants my shirt," Icardi recalled of scenes after the Sassuolo match. "Considering his age, he could be my son: I take off my shirt and shorts and throw them to him, as a gift."

"A head of the ultras jumps on him to take away the shirt and throws it back at me. This is when I start insulting him: 'Piece of s***, you are acting all arrogant with a little kid to show off to the rest of the curva? Do you think you're hard?."

"In the locker room I am acclaimed as a hero, because nobody had ever faced off that way with one of the fan leaders."

Icardi’s self-proclaimed bravado wasn’t received well by Inter supporters, who posted a banner which read: "You use a child to justify yourself and fling mud at us... You're not a man... You're not a Captain... You are just a vile piece of s***," during the club's 2-1 defeat to Bologna.

2. Falling out with Maxi Lopez

While playing for Sampdoria, Icardi struck up a relationship with then team-mate Maxi Lopez’s wife Wanda Nara.

Lopez and Nara eventually split up and with the ink still fresh on the couples’ divorce papers, Icardi swooped in and married Nara in 2014.

In his Autobiography, Icardi openly revealed  how he got acquainted with his wife while she was still married to Lopez.

"I was surprised because I usually spoke with Maxi, not with her (Wanda). She asked me if I could buy a new iPad in the US, it wasn’t available yet in Italy at that time. That episode, however, made me think. Did Wanda really want that tablet, or was she seeking an excuse to get in touch with me?”

"We texted many times.. She wrote to me: ‘Mauro, we [Maxi Lopez and her] are going for a ride to the Aeolian Islands with Gonzalo Bergessio and his wife. Why don’t you come with us?’" Icardi wrote.

"Of course I wanted to. While I was alone on the second floor of the boat, lying on the couch and listen to a bit of reggae, Wanda all of a sudden came and sat beside me, without any embarrassment.”

Lopez, who mentored a young Icardi while he was coming up through the youth acadamy was understandably aggrieved and reportedly refused offers from high ranking members of the mafia to break Icardi's legs.

3. Icardi vs Maradona

Icardi’s relationaship with Wanda was publicly criticised, most notably by Argentina legend Diego Maradona, who branded Icardi a ‘traitor.’

"I don’t know if Icardi will be called-up for the national team," Maradona said.

"I don’t speak about traitors. I’m here for the Match for Peace and Icardi has nothing to do with it."

Icardi wasn't concerned with Maradona's hero status in Argentina, he hit straight back at the ‘tasteless’ comments and said the Argentina legend was not an example to anyone off the pitch.

"He was a great player, but outside of football I can't respond to anything."

"These are tasteless words, it already happened in the friendly match Javier Zanetti organised. I can't say anything about someone who isn't an example for anyone."

4. The infamous tattoo

If it wasn’t enough of a slap in the face for Maxi Lopez to see Icardi posting photos with his ex-wife, Icardi rubbed further salt in the wounds by getting a tattoo of Lopez’s children’s names.

Icardi took to Instagram to show off the new ink with the caption  'I love these four little angels'.

The Torino striker spoke out after Icardi and his wife tweeted photos featuring the children he fathered with Nara.

"I can understand that, being a public figure, he publishes photos. But I'm not comfortable with my kids being in those photos," Lopez told Sky Sport.

"The kids are my strength... and they know I will do everything to protect them because they mean everything to me," he said.

5. His Argentina snub

Despite strong performances for club side Inter, Icardi has has only managed one appearance for the Argentina national team. His most notable omission was from the Copa America squad after being crowned top goalscorer in Serie A last season. 

Former Argentina coach Gerardo Martino said the omission was down to a code of behaviour referencing the ongoing feud with Maxi Lopez.

"I always deal in black and white, but over the years I have learned to see some grey area," Martino told Telam news agency. "But regarding the subject of Icardi, we all know what is right and what is wrong."