Radja Nainggolan has criticised Mauro Icardi for his recent absence from the Inter side, claiming his team-mates paid the price for an off-field dispute.
Icardi was out of action for almost two months after being stripped of the Nerazzurri captaincy in February, with agent and wife Wanda Nara reportedly angering club officials with comments she made about the team before insisting her husband, sat in the stands, was available to play.
The Argentina forward finally returned with a goal and an assist at Genoa last week to boost Inter’s hopes of Champions League qualification.
While Nainggolan is glad to have Icardi back, he does not believe the issues between himself and his wife and the club should have been allowed to impact the team.
“Every player in a team is important, but nobody is indispensable,” Nainggolan told Corriere dello Sport.
“Mauro is a great player, but we have another forward in Lautaro Martinez who did very well when given the chance and who is destined for the top.
“Too much has been said. If Mauro had problems with someone, it should have been up to him to resolve them and not let those issues damage the rest of the team.
“Enough now, he is training and available, just like everyone else. If he continues like this and scores goals, he is an important player to have.
“I told him what I thought, which was that, if he had problems that he needed to resolve with someone, the whole group could not be made to pay for it with his absence.
“[Coach Luciano] Spalletti put the focus on the group. A coach must be credible in the eyes of his players and Spalletti tried to deal with the situation as best he could by doing what he had to do.”
Inter face Frosinone on Sunday and then, next week, Nainggolan will come up against former club Roma.
And the midfielder reserved some criticism for Monchi, the Sevilla sporting director who played a part in Nainggolan’s departure during a largely unsuccessful spell in Rome.
“I had an open relationship with Monchi,” he said. “He often brought together six or seven of the top players and we all talked about how to do the best for the club and the team.
“I felt like an important player. Then, however, I learned of the things he said about me.
“Three days after he left Roma, the team he claimed to be in love with, he agreed to return to Seville. For me, this shows many things.
“Without him, hypothetically, I could still have been at Roma – or even with another team because maybe they wanted to send me elsewhere. I chose Inter because Spalletti pushed for me and it was the right decision.”