Tottenham head coach responds to Lionel Messi’s ‘best defender in the world’ claim

Sep 13, 2023 01:14 PM IST

Lionel Messi had recently picked Argentina and Tottenham player Cristian Romero as the ‘best defender in the world right now’.

Lionel Messi had recently branded his fellow Argentina teammate and Tottenham Hotspur player Cristian Romero as the “best defender in the world right now.” Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou has responded to Messi’s claims. Postecoglou said that he “wouldn’t argue” with Messi when it comes to Romero’s defensive abilities. Speaking to talkSPORT, the Spurs head coach explained, “I wouldn’t argue with Messi. I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t like to play against him [Romero]. Most of the boys don’t like to train against him. He’s a real competitor and I love that about him. Whether it’s training or a game, what you see is what you get with Romero.”

Lionel Messi(Getty Images via AFP)
Lionel Messi(Getty Images via AFP)

Romero had completed his move to Tottenham on an initial loan move from Serie A side Atalanta in August 2021. A year later, he joined the Premier League outfit on a permanent deal. Romero has so far represented the Lilywhites in more than 60 games across all competitions. Last season, the 25-year-old centre-back had to face criticism for not being able to come up with an impressive performance under Antonio Conte, Cristian Stellini and Ryan Mason. The London-based team could only secure an eighth-placed finish in the 2022-23 Premier League season.

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In international football, Cristian Romero has been simply outstanding. In 2021, Romero guided Argentina to Copa America glory. He was a key member of the Argentine team which won the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last year. Romero is currently busy with Argentina’s 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign. He helped La Albiceleste in keeping a clean sheet against Ecuador in the first 2026 World Cup qualifying fixture. Messi scored the solitary goal of the game against Ecuador in the 78th minute.

Following the match, Messi lavished huge praise on Romero. “I think he [Romero] is the best defender in the world right now. He played very well and, in my opinion, he was the man of the match. Having him behind me is the best thing that can happen to me. He always forces me to go forward, because he always wants to play one on one against his opponent. I have gotten used to not looking back and that is very good for an attacking player,” the Inter Miami star told 'Telemundo.'

Romero has earned 25 caps for Argentina so far. He also took part in Argentina’s second World Cup qualifying encounter against Bolivia. Despite not having Messi in the lineup, the defending World Cup champions did not face much trouble in getting the better of Bolivia. Enzo Fernandez, Nicolas Tagliafico and Nico Gonzalez scored a goal each to earn a comfortable 3-0 win for Argentina.

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