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 EXCLUSIVE

Ardiles backs Messi's claim that Romero is world's best defender
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Mitchell Fretton
LiveScore
Ossie Ardiles is hoping Tottenham can achieve great things under Ange Postecoglou
Ossie Ardiles is hoping Tottenham can achieve great things under Ange Postecoglou

Tottenham and Argentina legend Ossie Ardiles agrees with Lionel Messi's claim that Cristian Romero is the best defender in the world.

Speaking exclusively to LiveScore, the former Spurs midfielder explained why the World Cup winner has become one of the most important players under Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou.

He said: "I definitely agree with Messi. I've been with him [Romero] at the training ground this week and if I don't agree with Messi he'll come and get me! He's a wonderful player.

"He found it a little bit difficult since he arrived because of the way the team was playing — he was very exposed. 

"This is not happening right now and he was one of the most important players for his country when they won the World Cup.

"He's also one of the most important players for us as well. He's been made vice-captain, which is another great thing for him."

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Mo or Messi?

Spurs host Liverpool on Saturday and Ardiles is wary of the threat Romero and Co will face from Mohamed Salah, who plays with a similar freedom to Messi.

He added: "Salah is certainly one of the best players in the world. It's as simple as that. 

"It's not fair to compare anybody with Messi because he's the best player of his generation and probably the best player in the history of football.

"But Salah's doing extremely well. He's a little bit like Messi, who doesn't play for himself — he plays for the team. He'll be a big problem for us on Saturday."

Mohamed Salah is going to be a threat for Liverpool against Tottenham
Mohamed Salah is going to be a threat for Liverpool against Tottenham

No more Kane pain

The departure of record goalscorer Harry Kane left Spurs fans fearing the worst for Postecoglou's first season in charge.

Ardiles was sad to Kane go but is happy with how the club have developed without the England star. 

He said: "I thought it was going to be a little bit more traumatic because you can't replace a player as important as Harry.

"But football moves on and that's exactly what the club has done, what the team has done and what the manager has done."

The signing of James Maddison eased the blow of Kane's exit and Ardiles has been impressed with what he has seen.

He added: "It's like he was born to play for us, to be perfectly honest. I have been incredibly happy with him."

The perfect start

Heung-Min Son and James Maddison have become Tottenham's new attacking force
Heung-Min Son and James Maddison have become Tottenham's new attacking force

Spurs are fast becoming the season's surprise package and Ardiles has noted the shift in mood since Postecoglou walked through the door.

He said: "After last season, we were really down, the football was not nice, it was very negative. It was not the way Tottenham has always played football. 

"There has been a huge difference, it's black and white. He has changed the mentality of the club and players and people are starting to dream again.

"I've been in the training ground and that's another thing that's changed. If you go right now it's a very happy place."

Title credentials

While talk of a Spurs title challenge may be premature, Ardiles believes Liverpool will run Manchester City closest for the Premier League crown.

He said: "Historically, they [Liverpool] are one of the very best teams in England. It doesn't matter in what position they are, they're always very difficult to beat. 

"I expect City to be champions again but there will be a few teams that are going to start challenging soon and number one of them will be Liverpool."

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