It is often said numbers don’t lie, but in reality, they often do.
In this case, however, the story they tell couldn’t be any closer to the truth, and what a truth it is.
Mauro Icardi is often overlooked when the case of Europe’s top strikers comes under investigation. These numbers are serving to kick in the proverbial door of the consciousness of football fans and pundits as his heroics has helped Inter to top the table ahead of their game away to Juventus next week (we all know how he loves them.)
Sixteen goals in 15 games. One goal in roughly every two shots on target. Supreme.
15 – Mauro #Icardi is the only 3rd Inter player to score at least 15 goals in 4 Serie A campaigns in a row after Stefano Nyers (1949-53) and Giuseppe Meazza (1930-36). Icon. pic.twitter.com/lAEWCRJJpd
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) November 26, 2017
This is no small feat, but it underlies his growing contribution in other areas of the pitch in recent years. He has always scored, being the Capocannoniere at just 21 in his first full season leading the line at Inter. Since becoming Captain he has been one to sacrifice for the team, pulling wide, drawing defenders, pressing high, holding up play, and knocking on assists (9 assists to go with his 24 goals last season).
It can be posited that his finishing and movement in and around the box is second to none in Italy. But it is in these areas where his light has truly started to shine, as the team’s performance starts to match his individual performance. The difficult 1-0 win away to Genoa this season is a pure example of this shift in behaviour. He won Inter the game despite not scoring. Getting back to his own box to perform a goal line clearance was surely worth ‘three points’ and helped secure Inter’s unbeaten record. Another distinctive example is his reaction to the 3-2 win against Sampdoria. Despite a brace, he was notably upset after the match as he hit the post for what would have been his second goal of the game. He doesn’t care who scores as long as the team wins, a lesson learned from last season. “I scored 24 times,” he embittered, “but we didn’t get into Europe.”
6 – Mauro #Icardi has scored more than one goal in six Serie A games this season (5 braces, one hat-trick), more than any other player across the top-5 European Leagues. Forceful.#CagliariInter pic.twitter.com/JkTQ0Laqiq
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) November 25, 2017
The effect of Luciano Spalletti on the squad is ever apparent and so it is on Icardi as well, as he charts his fourth season where he has scored 16+ goals. The fire in him is fiercer than ever even as he has broken into the Argentina squad ahead of the World Cup, for the first time since 2013.
World, meet Mauro Emanuel Icardi.