“Romero is the best defender in the world.”
These are the words of Argentine international center back Cristian Romero, who is currently playing alongside Son Heung-min at Tottenham.
On the 9th (KST), Sports Illustrated, an American sports daily, reported that Lionel Messi, the captain of the Argentine national team, praised Romero after Argentina defeated Ecuador 1-0 in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, in the South American qualifier for the 2026 World Cup on the 8th.
Lionel Messi scored the only goal of the match in the 33rd minute, but was not named Man of the Match.
That honor went to 25-year-old Tottenham center back Christian Romero. It was Romero’s 22nd appearance in an A-match.
According to soccer stats site Footmob, Romero earned an 8.6 rating in the match, well above the 8 rating of Lionel Messi, who also scored.
He also played the full 90 minutes, completing 67 of his 68 passes for a passing success rate of 99%, including seven passes into the attacking third to help build up the offense.
His ball-winning percentages on the ground and in the air were 88% and 57%, respectively, and his tackle success rate was 71%, giving Ecuador a real taste of what the “Wailing Wall” is all about and earning him first-team honors in preserving the clean sheet.
Lionel Scaloni, Argentina’s national team coach, was also full of praise for Romero.
Speaking to Telemundo, a Spanish-language television network in the U.S., after the game against Ecuador, Scaloni said, “When we play at home, the fans motivate Romero. Then he gets a boost and runs 70 meters,” praising his confidence and dedication, “He’s an amazing center back and his performance in that game was unbelievable.”
Lionel Scaloni isn’t the only manager who loves Romero. Tottenham’s new manager, Anzhi Postecoglou, also agreed with Messi’s interview.
“I can’t argue with Messi’s opinion,” he said, “I wouldn’t want to play against Romero either. Most of the players at Tottenham are like that. Romero is a very competitive player. I appreciate that,” he said. “He’s doing as well as he looks,” he added.
Romero joined Tottenham on loan from Italian Serie A side Atalanta in the summer of 2021. A year later, after a €55 million ($78 billion) transfer from Atalanta, he was fully integrated into the Spurs squad, making 68 appearances. However, Romero’s career was a mixed bag, as he was often sent off for being too aggressive and collecting cards. Romero picked up 11 yellow cards for Tottenham in the 22-23 season, tying him with teammate central midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur for the team lead in cautions.
But for the Argentina national team, he shined. He helped Argentina win the 2022 World Cup and has been a consistent performer. 안전놀이터
This was especially true after the arrival of Postecoglou. At the start of the new season, he named Romero to the squad alongside freshman James Maddison.
In four Premier League starts this season, Romero has scored two goals and helped keep two clean sheets, giving him a season rating of 7.6.
Romero is also a good fit with Son Heung-min. Romero is the vice-captain of Tottenham with newcomer James Maddison, and the three of them work well together. Romero has been especially instrumental in communicating with the South American players on the team, which has contributed to Spurs’ rise to prominence.
It will be interesting to see if Romero can continue to perform well for Tottenham and the Argentine national team this season and become the next world-class defender.