Football - Icardi scores four as another Masia product makes his mark

Teenager Mauro Icardi, scorer of four goals in Sampdoria's 6-0 demolition of Pescara on Sunday, was born in the same city as Lionel Messi and benefited Barcelona's youth programme, but the comparisons end there.

Reuters

As his performance on Sunday showed, the 19-year-old from Rosario is more of an out-and-out striker and, at 1.84 metres, a break in the recent tradition of diminutive Argentine forwards such as Messi, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez.

Icardi opened his account just before halftime when Pedro Obiang slipped the ball to him just inside the Pescara half and he galloped away and a side-footed a low-shot past Mattia Perin.

His second was another breakaway effort as Obiang again threaded the ball through a flat Pescara backline and Icardi again broke clear, wrong-footing Perin with a clever feint before scoring into an empty goal.

Icardi, who also scored two goals in the 2-1 win at leaders Juventus earlier this month, completed his afternoon by scoring two opportunist goals from inside the area.

Icardi moved to Spain with his parents as a six-year-old and joined Barcelona's renowned Masia youth academy in 2008 but ultimately found competition for places too strong.

Instead, he moved to Sampdoria in January 2011, breaking into the first team last year when they were in Serie B.

Although he has only scored seven Serie A goals, there is already talk of international football and a move to a major European club.

Icardi also has Italian citizenship and media were speculating that coach Cesare Prandelli was interested in calling him up before his Argentine counterpart Alejandro Sabella.

"I'm happy at Prandelli's compliments but I have always said that I'm Argentine, but if Italy should call me it will be something positive," Icardi told Italian media after the match.

"In that case, I would decide what was best for me.

"It's too early to talk about a move. I have a contract with Sampdoria until 2015 and I'm not thinking about any other team. I want to do well here."

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