In Focus: Romero living up to Messi praise at Spurs
Cristian Romero has received high praise in the past week from two of the most important figures in his career.
Argentina captain Lionel Messi hailed the centre-back as the best defender in the world last week.
Then, his Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou gave his endorsement to the comments made by the Inter Miami forward.
Ahead of Spurs' match with Sheffield United on Saturday, we take a look at the form that has seen Romero elicit such plaudits.
Following Argentina's 1-0 victory over Ecuador, which saw La Albiceleste keep their fifth consecutive clean sheet, Messi gave a glowing assessment of Romero.
He said: "For me, he is the best defender in the world right now.
"Amazing performance tonight, man of the match."
This week, Spurs boss Postecoglou was asked about his thoughts on Messi's comments and delivered his own verdict on the 25-year-old.
He said: "I wouldn't argue with Messi.
"I'll tell you what, I wouldn't like to play against him.
"Most of the boys don't like to train against him. He's a real competitor and I love that about him.
"Whether it's training or a game, what you see is what you get with him."
Messi's verdict on Romero is no surprise, considering that he recommended Barcelona to buy the defender, before Tottenham signed him in 2021.
The praise from the North Londoners has not always been so forthcoming, during a mixed spell in the English capital.
Though Romero's overall quality has not been in question, his lack of availability was an issue during a rocky first two seasons for Spurs.
He only played in 30 games from a possible 54 matches in the 2021-22 campaign and 34 from 50 in 2022-23, due to a mixture of injuries and suspensions.
Some Spurs supporters questioned how committed Romero was to the club, in comparison to his country.
The centre-back could be forgiven if he did prioritise his national team, considering that Argentina have won both the Copa America in 2021 and the 2022 World Cup.
In contrast, Romero has seen Tottenham sack his first manager Nuno Espirito Santo and then Antonio Conte, in a turbulent two seasons in which his new club did not come close to winning a trophy.
With Postecoglou at the helm, there is now renewed optimism at Tottenham and Romero's form has been a major part of that.
He has scored twice this season, delivering a bullet header against Brentford and then sweeping the ball home from outside the area in Spurs' victory at Burnley.
Defensively, Postecoglou's side have kept clean sheets in two of their four Premier League games, despite the Aussie boss introducing a new back four system.
With both full-backs pushed forward into inverted midfield positions, a lot of weight has been placed on the shoulders of Romero and his fellow centre-back Micky van de Ven.
The South American has also been given responsibility as a dressing room leader by Postecoglou, who named him alongside James Maddison as one of two vice-captains, under skipper Heung-Min Son.
He seems to be relishing the added pressure, which has been reflected in his improved disciplinary record.
To be the best in the world, you have to deliver for both club and country. Romero now seems to be doing just that.