Mauro Icardi said it was “destiny” that possible future Nerazzurri team-mate Stefan de Vrij gave away a critical penalty that helped Inter come from behind to win at Lazio and seal Champions League qualification.
De Vrij has confirmed he is leaving Lazio at the end of the season, with Inter reportedly set to announce his signing on a free transfer as the defender is out of contract.
Lazio needed only a point to return to the Champions League for the first time in 10 years, but the hosts collapsed in spectacular fashion late on at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.
De Vrij rashly dived in on Icardi to concede a penalty converted by the striker, with Matias Vecino heading home the winner three minutes later – Lazio captain Senad Lulic dismissed for a second yellow card between the goals.
Icardi and De Vrij could be team-mates next season but the Inter captain denied there was anything suspicious about the foul from the Netherlands international.
“It was destiny. All players are professionals, I don’t think he fouled me on purpose,” Icardi said to Mediaset Premium. “He tried to stop me scoring, it was just destiny.
“We’ll certainly try to improve, because a side like Inter cannot afford to be so inconsistent. That’s the first thing we need to sort out. We had a great start to the season, then there was a collapse.
“We put in these performances that are either fantastic or terrible. We must try to find a middle ground.”
Icardi has been linked with a move to Real Madrid but the striker suggested he is willing to negotiate with Inter over extending his stay at San Siro.
“We’ll talk with the club and do what is best for Inter,” Icardi added. “The target was the Champions League, we achieved it and will go from there.
“We’ll have more options on the transfer market now and the club will try to do something. Last year, they did all they could and improved the squad.
“Lazio played well, but we showed strength and desire to turn the result around. We did it. This was the target. The finish line. The team was in good shape, the game wasn’t going the right way, but we showed strength to get it back on track.
“I dedicate this to my team-mates, because we all believed in the objective, from the players to the kit staff and the physios. This is a reward for all of us and our hard work, because we deserved it.”