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Romero reveals why he taunted Mbappe during final

Romero reveals why he celebrated Messi's FIFA World Cup final goal in Mbappe's face

January 19, 2023 By Ali M.
The Albiceleste center-back went viral after taunting—and also startling—Kylian immediately after Leo made it 3-2 in the Qatar 2022 final.

While the 2022 FIFA World Cup final was blessed with several iconic moments, ranging from the heroics of Messi and Mbappe to Emi Martinez's last-minute save, one of the most viral incidents involved Cristian Romero.

The Argentine center-back started against France and while the South American giants conceded three times against Les Bleus, the Tottenham ace put in a brilliant individual display at the heart of La Albiceleste's defense.

Despite this, one of his most memorable moments was an incident involving Mbappe that occurred straight after Messi scored in extra time. After witnessing Leo's attempt creep past the goal line, Romero decided to immediately celebrate in Kylian's face, even startling the PSG star, instead of running for his teammates.

While the French ace went on to score again, equalizing deep into extra time to send the match into a penalty shootout, Argentina managed to triumph, meaning Romero got his hands on the iconic trophy.

But what was the reason behind that altercation? Was the former Atalanta talent merely playing mind games with Mbappe? Romero has finally answered that question and according to him, it was revenge for his countryman Enzo Fernandez.

When speaking to D Sports Radio, the 24-year-old revealed that Enzo had suffered some harsh treatment at the hands of Kylian, and Cristian, nicknamed "Cuti", took it upon himself to retaliate. 

"I yelled in Mbappe's face to celebrate our goal."

"Because Enzo [Fernandez] had spoken to him and he had treated him really badly. "Then I celebrated Leo's [Messi's] goal in his face."

It remains unclear when the aforementioned Benfica midfielder and Ligue 1 goalscorer locked horns and what the nature of that confrontation was. Regardless, the combative Romero made sure to settle the personal scoreline. 

However, that wasn't the only topic of discussion during the defender's sit-down with D Sports Radio. The Premier League ace also opened up about Lionel Messi, his national team captain, praising the humility of the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"From a football point of view we know what Messi represents, for me and for many others he is the greatest in history," he added"

"He has a simplicity and humility on a day-to-day basis and that makes him greater."

Romero also admitted that he missed all but Messi's spot kick during the penalty shootout as he was kneeling and praying. Additionally, he also stated that he loves to rewatch—and thus relive—the final in Qatar.

However, the player remains focused on the ongoing season. Tottenham are currently battling to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season but face an uphill battle to finish in the top four.

Fourth-placed Newcastle are five points ahead and following their 2-0 North London Derby defeat to Arsenal, the form of Conte's side no longer looks appealing.

Next up for Spurs is a highly-anticipated showdown with Manchester City, another team struggling for form recently. Kane and Co. beat the Cityzens both home and away last season and are in desperate need of a win. This Thursday showdown could go a long way in deciding both the title race and the top-four battle.

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