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Striker Icardi: I want to play for Argentina

Sampdoria striker Mauro Icardi says his international future lies with Argentina, not Italy, despite being eligible to play for both countries.

Icardi, 19, was born in South America but has lived in Italy long enough to qualify to play for them through residency rules.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said the forward was "a very interesting player" and he was monitoring him after recent goals against Juventus and Roma.

However, Icardi said he wanted to represent Argentina but thanked Prandelli for his comments in an interview with Genovese newspaper Il Secolo XIX.

"I'm very grateful to Italian football for the opportunity it has given me," he said. "I'd also like to thank Prandelli for the nice words he expressed about me.

"But I have to be honest and sincere - I'm Argentine, I feel Argentine and I've always dreamed of wearing the shirt of my nation. To actually do that would be the maximum for me."

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