Lionel Messi has bestowed the ultimate compliment on Tottenham Hotspur’s Cristian Romero, calling him in the “best in the world”.
The Inter Miami star hailed Romero following Argentina’s 1-0 win over Ecuador to kick off their qualification campaign for the 2026 Fifa World Cup. Messi scored the winner by sending a trademark pinpoint direct free-kick past the helpless goalkeeper in the 78th minute.
But it was the Spurs man who took the plaudits after the final whistle, with Messi and Rodrigo De Paul lavishing praise on the 25-year-old after he helped the world champions keep a clean sheet at home.
“For me, [Romero] is the best defender in the world right now. Amazing performance tonight, man of the match,” Messi said of the Premier League player.
Atletico Madrid midfielder De Paul concurred with the seven-time Balon d’Or winner, saying: “Today ‘Cuti’ Romero is up to being the best central defender in the world.
“Having him behind is the best thing that can happen to me because he always forces me to go forward as he always wants to be one on one against the opponent. I got used to going out without looking back and that is a pleasure for a midfielder, because in the end you look at what that you have in front and allows you to get less tired.”
Romero returned the compliment to Messi, remarking: “Ecuador were strong at the back and tried to exploit any mistakes we made. But then, the greatest player in the world appeared and opened the game up, after that, things got easier.”