Tottenham legend Ossie Ardiles is unsure if there is a better centre-back out there than Cristian Romero at present. Signed on a season-long loan deal from Atalanta 12 months ago, the Lilywhites will make the defender’s move permanent this summer after a stunning first year in N17.
Missing three months of action due to a hamstring injury sustained on Argentina duty back in November, Romero’s return at the start of February was a major reason for the team’s upturn in form in the final few months of the campaign under Antonio Conte. Helping Spurs to a Champions League place after beating Arsenal to the final spot, Ardiles has hailed the team and specifically the impact of both Romero and Harry Kane.
“I’m absolutely delighted because, at one time, it looked out of our hands and the final day was what makes the Premier League the best league in the world,” Ardiles told MailOnline in an exclusive interview. “There was a little bit of trepidation going to Norwich for the last game of the season because of our history. But once the second goal went in, that was it. You could see the difference in the two teams was huge and we won very very comfortably.
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“For a lot of different reasons, it was such a great season really. First just to qualify for the Champions League and then there were some outstanding performances – it’s very difficult to choose just one.
“Harry Kane, for example, had a very slow start – especially for him – but he finished incredibly strongly. I would also like the mention ‘Cuti’ [Cristian] Romero – he’s one of the top defenders in the world without doubt.”
Coming to the Premier League off the back of winning the Serie A Defender of the Year award during his season on loan at Atalanta, Romero has taken to the Premier League with ease and really impressed Ardiles in the process. The former Spurs manager’s claim that he doesn’t know who is better than him right now is quite something with the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Ruben Dias and Thiago Silva so highly regarded in the Premier League.
“It’s not easy to arrive in English football and acclimatise straight away. It can take quite a long time to do so. It looked to me as if he done so extremely quickly,” added the Tottenham legend. “He’s very good with the ball, without the ball and is a very good defender. He still needs to learn a few things – he’s made one or two mistakes – but he’s very clever and will learn from those mistakes.
“But what is his ceiling? I wouldn’t like to speculate on that. Making comparisons with other players, I’m not so sure. But I don’t know who is better [than him] right now. That is debatable.
“Before he made his move, he already stood out for the national team. For Argentina, some rotate, some play, sometimes they don’t. People like [Lionel] Messi and Romero play all the time, so it gives you an idea of how highly-rated he is. He’s an outstanding player – I’m delighted Spurs have him.”
Source by Football London