Juventus
    18.10.2015 15:00 - in: Serie A S

    Three key men for Inter

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    The Nerazzurri boast a talented team with standout players up front and in goal. Juventus.com looks at the key men in greater detail

    Inter have assembled an impressive outfit over the summer, strengthening in all areas of the park.

    From the signings of Miranda and Jeison Murillo in defence, Felipe Melo and Geoffrey Kondogbia in midfield and Stevan Jovetic and Ivan Perisic in attack, the Nerazzurri have bought players with tremendous pedigree in Europe, as the club strives to return as a force to be reckoned with both in Italy and abroad.

    Despite boasting the sort of strength in depth not seen at the San Siro for several years, there are a few names that have warranted extra attention ahead of Sunday’s showdown with the Bianconeri, as Juventus.com illustrates.

    Mauro Icardi, 22, Forward

    Mauro Icardi has established himself as one of Serie A’s most prolific strikers after netting 22 league goals last season to share the Golden Boot award with Luca Toni.

    While the Argentine has proved to be one of the finest finishers in the division, finding the target 48 times in all competitions since making his top-flight debut for Sampdoria in 2012, he has also weighed in with 16 assists over the same period of time.

    A product of the Barcelona youth academy, Icardi moved to Italy as an 18-year-old and his 19 goals in 23 appearances for Sampdoria’s Primavera quickly caught the attentions of the first-team and ultimately his current club Inter, who signed him from the Ligurian outfit in 2013.

    At just 22 years of age, Icardi has developed incredibly quickly to become a complete centre-forward, combining his undoubted eye for goal with pace and power.

    So far this season, he has won 58 per cent of his 50-50s against defenders – a particularly good record for a striker. His all-round attributes allow him to lead the line on his own and his rapid maturity has seen Roberto Mancini hand him the captaincy this year.

    Icardi enters Sunday’s match hoping to maintain an incredible scoring streak against Juventus, having scored six goals in his five matches involving the Bianconeri since January 2013.

    Stevan Jovetic, 25, Forward

    Since joining in the summer from Manchester City, Stevan Jovetic has made a bright start to life in Milan and currently leads the Nerazzurri’s goalscoring charts this season after three strikes in the opening two matches for his new club.

    The Montenegrin has had to sit out the last couple of fixtures through injury and his absence has coincided with the end of Inter’s perfect start to the campaign in dramatic fashion, losing 4-1 to the forward’s former club Fiorentina. Jovetic has made a quick recovery in the meantime, leading Mancini to include him in Sunday’s squad.

    The 25-year-old began his professional career at Partizan Belgrade, where his 12 goals in 2007/08 caught the attentions of the Viola, for whom he would make his name as a very versatile player capable of playing in a number of attacking positions, whether as the main or secondary striker, or even on the left wing.

    Jovetic established himself as a key man during his five years in Florence, during which he netted 40 times, whilst weighing in with 24 assists. The Montenegro international also recorded an impressive four-goal haul in as many appearances in the side’s 2009/10 Champions League campaign.

    Upon arriving at City in 2013, he would find playing opportunities hard to come by with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo ahead of him in the pecking order.

    But this summer’s move back to Italy already looks like bringing the best out of Jovetic once again, who will be keen to quickly rediscover his early-season form upon his imminent return to action.

    Samir Handanovic, 31, Goalkeeper

    Samir Handanovic has provided a safe pair of hands in over three seasons at Inter. The Slovenian shot-stopper is an expert at keeping out penalty-kicks, saving an incredible 33 out of 83 in his career, including five last term for Inter, the highest out of any other Serie A keeper.

    The 31-year-old is somewhat an institution between the sticks in Italy’s top-flight, having made his league debut in May 2005 for Udinese. Since then, he has gone on to represent Treviso, Lazio and Rimini before returning to the Stadio Friuli for a successful five-year spell, in which he kept 71 clean sheets and helped the side qualify for the Champions League in 2012.

    Handanovic has not conceded in a further 47 appearances in Nerazzurri colours and has started the current campaign in good form, saving 76 per cent of the shots heading his way and keeping four clean sheets in seven matches.

    His consistent displays over the years have also led to a distinguished career on the world stage with 74 caps for Slovenia since making his international debut in November 2004.

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