HomeFootball NewsTottenham have the best defender in the world, according to Lionel Messi

Tottenham have the best defender in the world, according to Lionel Messi


Lionel Messi has made a rather extraordinary claim about Cristian Romero, proclaiming him to be the “best defender in the world right now”.

The 25-year-old played a pivotal role as Argentina triumphed over Ecuador in a CONMEBOL 2026 World Cup qualifier, with Messi himself sealing the victory with a spectacular free-kick in the second half. This victory catapulted Argentina to the top of the South American group at this early stage, although other teams – Brazil among them – are yet to compete their fixtures. Their remarkable form since clinching the World Cup last December has seen them win all five games (four friendlies and the aforementioned qualifier with Ecuador – by an aggregate score of 14-0, Messi accounting for six of those.

As Argentina continue to surge, so does the reinvigorated Spurs defender, Romero. Partnered alongside summer acquisition Micky van de Ven for the Premier League side, this defensive duo appear to be forging a promising partnership that could last for years to come. While Romero was already a fixture in the first team under Antonio Conte, the arrival of Ange Postecoglou seems to have elevated his game to new heights.

Messi, who has seamlessly adapted to MLS, once again demonstrated why many are calling for him to secure the 2023 Ballon d’Or, which would mark an incredible eighth win. Messi’s 78th-minute free-kick was enough to overcome Ecuador in a game of very few openings.

Messi unequivocally believes that Romero is now the premier defender in global football, stating, “For me, he is the best defender in the world right now. Amazing performance tonight, man of the match,” he told Telemundo.

Argentina – who went unbeaten in their qualification campaign for Qatar – continue their CONMEBOL campaign with a trip to Bolivia early next week, before fixtures against Paraguay and Peru in the October international break.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


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