Cristian Romero is expected to train with Antonio Conte’s Tottenham side on Tuesday after his latest farcical international break with Argentina.
The centre-back was called up for Argentina despite being suspended for both of their matches during this international break, as they awaited an appeal over his ban. That appeal was rejected and football.london understands that Romero is now expected to be back at Hotspur Way on Tuesday and involved in training with his Tottenham team-mates.
The 23-year-old has starred for Spurs since being signed on loan from Atalanta last summer, but his international adventures this season have been fraught with problems. The Argentine arrived at Tottenham last August with a knee injury suffered with his country in the Copa America final.
In his next international break, Romero made the decision to travel to play for Argentina despite the government regulations at that time on quarantining after heading to red-listed South American countries. That trip ended up descending into further farce after international match protocols were deemed to have not been followed and that resulted in the game being abandoned within minutes as Brazilian officials stormed the pitch looking for Romero, his Spurs team-mate Giovani Lo Celso and Aston Villa duo Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez.
Romero was later banned for two matches by FIFA, fined by his club for going in the first place and also had to quarantine in Croatia for 10 days afterwards with Lo Celso and another Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez, missing further Spurs matches.
Then on Romero’s next international call-up in November – before his ban was decided – he suffered a serious hamstring injury that kept him out for three months.
Romero finally returned to action and impressed for Spurs but there was then confusion last week as Spurs did not expect Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni to call the suspended defender up to his squad.
Yet he still was named in the squad and travelled because there was hope that his ban would be be halved to just one match. He was not involved for Argentina, who have already qualified for the World Cup, in their 3-0 home qualifying campaign win against Venezuela on Friday evening.
However, on Monday the appeal to FIFA was rejected with the suspensions of the four Argentina players upheld and Romero will now be back in the UK rather than travelling with his international team-mates to watch his country’s second match, in Ecuador, set to kick-off at the UK time of 12.30am on Wednesday morning.
While it will be frustrating news for Romero and a wasted trip, it will be good news for Spurs boss Antonio Conte, who will now get the defender in a fresher state this week rather than as one of his last international returnees just before the Premier League match against Newcastle on Sunday.
Another Spurs defender has also returned to Hotspur Way this week. football.london understands that Ben Davies has returned to Spurs as a precaution after feeling tightness in one of his quad muscles in his thigh. With Davies being released before the problem developed it is hoped that with treatment and the recovery time he should be available for Spurs’ Premier League return at home against Newcastle on Sunday afternoon.