Mauro Icardi, strong head and striker in series

Sure of him but reserved, the new striker of Paris Saint-Germain continues his career by ignoring criticism and closing on his family.

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Mauro Icardi, in his first match with PSG against Strasbourg at the Parc des Princes, Saturday, September 14.
Mauro Icardi, in his first match with PSG against Strasbourg at the Parc des Princes, Saturday, September 14. GONZALO FUENTES / REUTERS

We do not know if this is good news for a center-forward but, as a child, Mauro Icardi excelled in pigeon shooting. In sneakers, he went through the dirty streets of the Ceramica, neighborhood of Rosario, Argentina, streaked with slums, an artisanal slingshot in the pants pocket, a balloon under his elbow, and aimed at the birds that the father, butcher , put on the embers at night, plucked and cleaned.

The victims were tasted with a little salt, potatoes and mushrooms, he says in his autobiography, Semper avanti (Sperling & Kupfer, with Paolo Fontanesi, 2016, untranslated). "More than a necessity, it had become a passion, even if bringing home a little food did not spoil anything. (…) My two parents worked from time to time with my mother, and had no money to spend unnecessarily. The only entertainment I could afford was zero: football, marbles and my slingshot. "

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The center-forward position of Paris-Saint-Germain is now run by two South Americans fond of hunting and fishing. Edinson Cavani package is Mauro Icardi, 26, who should start at the forefront of the Parisian attack at the entry into play of PSG in the Champions League, Wednesday, September 18, against Real Madrid.

The Uruguayan and the Argentine are also found in a secret nature, solitary and determined. The first is already a Parisian legend; the second, seen from the Parc des Princes, is still an Instagram account fed in abundance and a promising figure: 124, like the goals scored in six seasons at Inter Milan, club he was successively hope, glory and the pariah.

"In Argentina, he is not loved"

An outcast, Icardi is also in his country of birth. He may well be the greatest scorer of the Italian championship in the last five years, he remains a dwarf on the scale of Rosario, blessed city of Argentine football that saw born Lionel Messi, César Luis Menotti and Marcelo Bielsa. Argentina ignores it superbly.

He left at the age of 9, when his father left the butcher's shop in Rosario, during the financial crisis, for the shores of Gran Canaria, Spain, where Icardi filled the net: 500 goals claimed in five seasons, and good number of parrotfish, his favorite. He sometimes returns to find that La Ceramica has not changed, that his friends at the time have, for many, drowned in the drug trade.


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