“If Conte stayed, Romero went”…Tottenham almost lose key defender
Cristian Romero, a key defender under Enze Postecoglou, has revealed that he had an uneasy relationship with former coach Antonio Conte.
“Romero would have asked for a move this summer if Conte had stayed,” Sky Sports journalist Michael Bridge said on Wednesday, citing reliable sources.
“It doesn’t matter now, but they had a bad relationship,” he added.
Romero joined Tottenham on loan for the 2021-22 season after a stellar 2020-21 campaign with Atalanta that saw him named in the Italian Serie A’s best 11 defenders. It was the work of former sporting director Fabio Paratici, who had been eyeing Romero since his days at Juventus.
He missed some games in his first year due to injury, but in 22 games he provided stability to the Tottenham defense, and Spurs paid the agreed transfer fee from Atalanta to buy him outright. The transfer fee is estimated to be €55 million.
Romero was also a key defender under Conte last season. However, there have been reports that Romero and Conte are not on good terms. In March, after a game against Southampton, Romero criticized Conte, saying that he had “selfish players,” and the club sacked him for it. A day after Conte’s sacking, The Sun reported that “most of Tottenham’s players have lost faith in Conte over time” and were “frustrated by the repeated, grueling training sessions and the way he has publicly blamed players for defeats in front of the public.” In short, there were players who resented Conte, and he viewed them as “selfish”.
It wasn’t long before one of the so-called “anti-Conte factions” was revealed. “Romero was thinking of giving the club an ultimatum if Conte continued to lead Tottenham,” Argentine journalist Gaston Edul told TyC Sports, adding that “he will stay at Tottenham (because Conte has left).”
The striker echoed Romero’s sentiments. “Romero was also thinking of giving the club an ultimatum if Conte stayed at Tottenham,” Edul said.
Romero eventually parted ways with Conte and has been a key defender under new manager Enze Postecoglou this season. Together with his new partner Micky van der Penn, the pair have formed a stable backline that has led to three wins and a draw from their opening four games. Postecoglou also showed his trust in Romero by naming him vice-captain alongside James Maddison to support Son Heung-min.
Romero has also been on a roll for the Argentine national team. On Aug. 8, he helped Argentina to a 1-0 win over Ecuador with a man-of-the-match performance. Lionel Messi, who scored the winning goal, said: “For me, Romero is the best defender in the world right now. It was an amazing performance tonight,” said Lionel Messi, who scored the winning goal. 먹튀검증