Inter director of sport Piero Ausilio insisted in-form captain Mauro Icardi is happy and wants to stay at the club for a long time, despite reported interest from Spanish and European champions Real Madrid.

Icardi — contracted until 2021 after signing a new deal in October 2016 — has been linked with a big-money move to Madrid amid his fine form for high-flying Inter in Serie A.

The 24-year-old Argentina international forward took his season tally to 15 goals with Saturday’s brace in the 3-1 win at Cagliari, which sent Inter top of the table.

Ausilio is confident of retaining the services of Icardi, who scored 24 Serie A goals last term.

 

“With Icardi’s contract, it’s not an issue of release clauses, it’s about what he wants to be, and he wants to be important for Inter. He wants to stay here for a long time and win. We’ve never moved from that position either,” Ausilio told Mediaset Premium.

“It might seem like Icardi is a revelation as a man and a captain, but it’s no surprise for us. We built a project around him some time ago and he gives back a great deal. The statistics show we made a wise investment.

“The rules state the maximum length for a contract is five years, so we can’t give him a lifetime contract now. Maybe he could just have many renewals.

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“We have to build the future, as two years ago we started strong and then finished fourth, which nowadays would be worth Champions League qualification. These are experiences we look to and hope made us a better side.

“A team builds confidence week by week. We realised Luciano Spalletti has an important project here and everyone believes in it. Now the team goes out on to the field and knows what it’s meant to be doing.

“Inter are strong, but we want to be strong in terms of more than just big names and prestige, but also for the work we’ve done.”

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