Lionel Messi has warned Chelsea that they will be up against one of the “best defenders in the world” when they face Premier League leaders Tottenham Hotspur in north London on Monday night. Ange Postecoglou has made a dream start to his managerial tenure with Spurs, winning eight of their first 10 matches to sit at the top of the table before the weekend fixtures got underway.
Chelsea have endured an indifferent start to life under Mauricio Pochettino at Stamford Bridge but will be hopeful of picking up a valuable away win against their capital rivals this evening that can help to properly kick-start their season.
However, they will be up against Argentina centre-back Cristian Romero, who is enjoying a superb start to the season. So much so that he has received the praise of the highest order from none other than World Cup-winning captain Messi himself.
The Inter Miami talisman was back on the scoresheet when he notched the only goal of the game for Argentina against Ecuador in their opening World Cup 2026 qualifier on September 7. Messi broke the deadlock with a typically brilliant free-kick in 78th minute, but it was Romero who walked away with the man-of-the-match award.
Speaking to Telemundo about Romero after the match, Messi said: “For me, he is the best defender in the world right now. Amazing performance tonight, man of the match.”
Messi’s thoughts were echoed by Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni, who said: “I have no words for the match Cuti Romero had. During the home games, people motivate him and he thinks he’s He-Man, he can run 70 meters.”
Romero, who was making his 22nd appearance for the national side, produced a dominant display that saw him make seven tackles, win 11 duels and complete 66 of 68 attempted passes.
He also produced a superbly-timed penalty area tackle to deny Ecuador Enner Valencia on the hour mark.
The 25-year-old has featured in all 10 Premier League matches for Tottenham so far this season, scoring twice. And with Spurs only conceding nine goals in their first 10 matches, the Argentine looks to have already become the cornerstone of Postecoglou’s defensive line.
Although Barcelona’s all-time record goalscorer found the net a remarkable 11 times in 14 appearances since moving to Miami, 10 of those goals came in cup matches and with the club rock bottom of the Eastern Conference on his arrival, there was too much work to do.