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How Tottenham almost lost ‘best defender in the world’ thanks to Antonio Conte

The Lilywhites nearly paid a heavy price for the Italian’s tenure

Tottenham would have lost star defender Cristian Romero over the summer had they not parted ways with Antonio Conte, such was the tension in the side, it has been revealed.

The Argentine was initially signed by Nuno Espirito Santo in the summer of 2021, but the ex-Wolves boss was quickly replaced by Conte as Tottenham’s form plummeted.

The former Chelsea coach fixed that issue for a time, with Spurs pipping north London rivals Arsenal to 4th place come the end of the season, but the second season under the Italian was a disaster.

Out of all competitions and midtable by March, the squad harmony was reportedly at an all time low and the club made the decision to part ways with the serial winner, appointing first Christian Stellini and then Ryan Mason as interim coaches.

In doing so, they saved themselves a whole lot of trouble with Romero.

As per Sky Sports journalist Michael Bridge, “I got told by a very good source that if Conte would’ve stayed, Romero would’ve left. It’s irrelevant now, but I don’t think them two really clicked at all.”

He has carried that form into international duty, putting in an exceptional display to help his side to a 1-0 win over Ecuador to kickstart their World Cup 2026 qualifying campaign,

His performance led to Lionel Messi singling him out for some incredible praise.

“For me, he is the best defender in the world right now. Amazing performance tonight, man of the match,” he told Telemundo after the game.

After an injury scare, Romero appears to be back to full fitness and will be a key part of any success Spurs enjoy this season should he be able to reign in his yellow card tendency from last season.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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