Ivan Perisic’s move to Bayern Munich gave the 30-year-old Croatia international a fresh start after a tumultuous 2018-2019 season at Inter Milan. Not only was the team frustrated on the field, but the locker room was also a mess.
The Nerazzurri finished fourth in Serie A, but they were far from a harmonious bunch on-and-off the pitch. In what Sport Bild describes as a locker room divided, a Balkan sect and a South American faction formed on the team:
In Italy there have long been reports of a poisoned climate in Inter’s locker room. At least two groups are said to have formed. On the one side, there is the “Balkan faction” with Perisic, his compatriot Marcelo Brozovic, veteran goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, and Milan Skriniar. On the other hand, the South Americans, led by Argentinian Mauro Icardi — a controversial professional — who is suspended for the time being.
Tensions escalated to the extent that Perisic ultimately confronted teammate Mauro Icardi after Icardi’s wife and agent Wanda Nara made comments about himself on Italian television.
And we thought Lisa Muller criticizing Niko Kovac on Instagram was a scandal!
Anyway, Nara went on television to throw this barb, which was allegedly directed at Perisic:
Even more than a new contract for Mauro, I would like Inter to sign a player who can give him five decent passes.
Accordingly, Perisic confronted Icardi and advised him that Nara should keep his name out of her mouth (give or take a few Croatian pleasantries). The feud between the two locker room segments climaxed when Brozovic liked a tweet by the club announcing that it had stripped Icardi of his captaincy in February.
As Sport Bild points out, the club’s “footballing ambitions” fell to the background on account of this internal strife, which Antonio Conte has been seeking to eliminate since taking the helm as manager:
Antonio Conte has now set out to rid the team of all these old burdens. Although Mauro Icardi is still there, he is at the top of their sell-list. The goalscorer and former club darling has been linked sometimes more, sometimes less with countless clubs (Juventus, PSG, Napoli, AS Roma, Boca Juniors, and others) over the past few weeks.
As it stands, Perisic probably will not have to worry about interacting with Icardi again even if Bayern Munich opts to pass on picking up the “buy option” on the veteran winger. With Icardi — and his wife — likely headed out of town, Perisic can keep his focus on footballing for the 2019-2020 season.