Nainggolan expected to miss Milan derby

Inter head coach Luciano Spalletti has no updates on Mauro Icardi, but says Radja Nainggolan is unlikely to be fit to face AC Milan.

Inter midfielder Radja Nainggolan is expected to miss the Milan derby next weekend, according to coach Luciano Spalletti.

Nainggolan is out with a calf injury and not likely to return in time for the March 17 clash between the local rivals, which will likely be key for the Champions League hopes of Inter and AC Milan.

The Nerazzurri will look to end a three-game winless run in all competitions when SPAL visit San Siro on Sunday, and they could have Keita Balde Diao and Ivan Perisic, who hobbled off in the Europa League draw with Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday, available.

“The latest news is that [Perisic] will be available, just like Keita,” he told reporters on Saturday.

“Nainggolan, on the other hand, hasn’t fully recovered, and I don’t expect to see him back in time for the derby.

“But we’ll evaluate him day by day. We can’t say much more at the moment.”

It is unclear whether Mauro Icardi will play against SPAL, Inter having released a statement on Wednesday revealing the club has held “cordial” talks with the striker and his agent.

Icardi has not played for the club since being stripped of the captaincy, claiming to be suffering from a knee injury, though Inter said tests found no specific issue.

Spalletti made the decision to give Samir Handanovic the armband and has no information on when the Argentina international will be back.

“I haven’t received any more updates,” he added. “But [chief executive Giuseppe] Marotta is the best man to handle this situation for all parties involved.

“There are things that need clarifying and with all of his experience, he’ll be able to look after all parties. It’s right that you ask him.

“For me, time is running out before the end of the season and we need to make the most of the time left to get results, so my focus is on matters on the pitch.”

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