Mauro Icardi: The perfect target for Real Madrid
It is looking likely that Karim Benzema’s time as Real Madrid’s main striker is coming to an end. Mauro Icardi might just be the perfect replacement for him.
At this point, it is clear that Real Madrid will be looking for a new striker in the summer.
After a prolonged period of sub-par performances, Karim Benzema’s time as the European Champions leading number nine seems destined to come to an end after the season comes to a conclusion.
The Frenchman has been given several chances by Madrid despite calls from large sections of the fanbase to drop the player.
However, he has largely failed to return to the form that made him one of the best strikers in the world for so many years, even despite a masterclass in the second leg of the Champions League against Bayern Munich.
Who Madrid attempt to sign this summer is anybody’s guess. They’ve been linked with moves for all kinds of strikers that suit different roles and play in different ways, with names including Harry Kane, Neymar and Robert Lewandowski.
Given Real Madrid’s history, they might just sign the latest striker to breakthrough at the upcoming World Cup but there is one player who would suit them down to a tee: Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi.
There are important reasons why Real Madrid kept Benzema in 2013, selling Gonzalo Higuain to Napoli instead.
Typically strikers are the focal point of the team: they usually function as the main goalscorer, the player the team can rely on to drag them out of a hole if required.
However, whilst Benzema has been an incredible goalscorer and easily could have been that kind of player had he played for any other club, his main benefits to the team is how unselfish a player he is.
Benzema makes Real Madrid’s attack tick. He drops deep to provide space for other onrushing attacks to run into. He plays key passes to set up other players and his duty has always been to ensure that he gets the best out of Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid’s actual striker, even if he plays on the wing.
Time for change
Despite this, it might be time for a change up front.
This is where Mauro Icardi becomes a very interesting option for Real Madrid and would present an entirely new worry for opposing teams up against Real Madrid.
There are few players in the world who are more lethal and are more dangerous in the box than Icardi: the Argentine is the prototypical goalscorer, only needing one chance in a game to score.
With 27 goals in 31 league games for Inter Milan this season, following a previous season haul of 24 goals in 34 games, Icardi would certainly offer Real Madrid something different.
Ronaldo on the downslope
While Cristiano Ronaldo is having an incredible run of form in 2018 – scoring goals for fun – Real Madrid cannot just rely on him to score for them.
Taking into account the fact he is thirty-three years old, at some point they need to prepare for life without him.
Had they done so, it might have serviced them well in the first half of the season as well when Ronaldo was not firing on all cylinders and the team as well struggled for results in the league along with the Champions League.
Madrid rely heavily on Ronaldo, particularly when it comes to goal-scoring. With 15 goals in 12 games in the Champions League, it is certain that Los Blancos wouldn’t have made it so far without their Portuguese talisman.
More than just a goalscorer
Of course, it would be unfair to typecast Mauro Icardi as ‘just a goalscorer’.
The Milan man has several attributes to his game and his potential involvement as Real Madrid’s number nine would benefit them in more ways than one.
A physically strong player, Icardi can hold up the ball and bully defenders away from him. Equally, he can play others in or drift out wide to create space for others to move into. He is also an intelligent player, knowing exactly where to be at all times.
In addition to his intrinsic footballing ability, Icardi is a natural leader on the pitch: he is already the captain for Inter Milan.
While Harry Kane or Neymar have been linked to Real Madrid in the summer, it is not certain that either player will leave their clubs this season.
The fees that both Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain would demand for either player would be far beyond what Real Madrid would pay.
Mauro Icardi, on the other hand, would be a more reasonable target and, depending on whether Inter Milan can qualify for the Champions League or not, he might well be available to leave Italy at the end of the season.
This summer could be very interesting for Real Madrid who could well be heading into the break as European champions once again.
But there are changes that need to be made to the squad in regards to squad depth and giving them different tactical options depending on what their opposition is.
Icardi presents a very interesting option for Madrid and presents a player who could take off their over-relying on Ronaldo to score goals for them.
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