The 15-year-old has linked with Manchester United and Barcelona after becoming the youngest player to debut in La Liga.
Wearing Argentina’s famous blue and white shirt, he takes possession in an inside-right position before rushing towards the target, dribbling the ball onto his left foot as he passes in front of opposition defenders, his shoulder-length brown hair floating behind him as he closes in the 18-yard box.
It is a description that many will be familiar with; The vision of a young Lionel Messi once again leaving an indelible mark on the memories of opponents and followers alike.
But this is not Messi. This is another.
This is a 15-year-old boy who has been compared to the six-time Ballon d’Or winner for years. This is a player that many Albiceleste fans are already pinning their future hopes on. This is a player who is apparently ready to make his mark in senior football.
This is Luka Romero.
While the excitement has been brewing regarding Romero’s ability for several years, the young man’s celebrity level has reached new heights in the last 10 days after he was named as part of the Mallorca team of the day for his La Liga clash against Villarreal on June 16.
After training with the first-team team since soccer emerged from its coronavirus-forced hibernation, Romero’s inclusion in the substitute bank saw media organizations unearth the record books to confirm that, if he debuted, he would would become the youngest. player in the history of the Spanish top flight, breaking a record that former Celta defender Vigo Sanson has kept for 80 years.
“We have been watching him since he was 12, but we never wanted to promote him too early because we also have to be careful,” Mallorca assistant coach Dani Pendin said in a recent interview. “We have seen him play and he did amazing things in his age group, but physically he was not fully developed and that could bring him problems when meeting older players. Today you can see his legs and his body starting to fill up. Outside.
Romero was again an unused substitute against Leganés three days later, but his time finally came on Wednesday night when, at the age of 15 years and 219 days, he emerged on the touchline before hitting the field for the past nine minutes. Mallorca’s defeat at Real Madrid.
A true creator of history, Romero has always been destined to play professionally.
Son of the nomadic Argentine soccer player Diego Romero, Luka was born in the Mexican city of Durango while his father played for the Alacranes lower league team. He moved to Spain at the age of two when Diego continued his career before starting his own football education at the Sant Jordi academy on the island of Ibiza.
At just seven years old, he was invited to attend a trial with Barcelona, where he impressed the club’s scouts with his ball skills. However, his family was unwilling to move to Catalonia, which means the Blaugrana were unable to sign him due to FIFA rules when it comes to acquiring players under the age of 10.
Instead, he remained in Ibiza, before his family moved to the island of Mallorca when Romero Sr. finished his own career. Luka was seen by Mallorca and in 2015 she enrolled in the academy program on the side of the second division when she was 10 years old.
Two years later, if you believe the stories, he would have another interaction related to Barcelona, when he was seen juggling a soccer ball on an Ibiza beach by former Blaugrana star Dani Alves. The Brazilian international winger asked if he could join before telling those who had gathered to take pictures to “take pictures of him, not me, he is the new Messi.”
Messi’s comparisons will likely follow Romero no matter which direction his career takes.
Nicknamed ‘The Mexican Messi’ for his homeland, Romero has made it clear that he wants to represent Argentina internationally despite being eligible for both El Tri and his lifelong home, Spain.
“My whole family is Argentine; my dream is to wear the Albiceleste shirt,” he said in a statement issued by the Argentine Soccer Association in 2018, and a year later he was called to represent his country in the South American U-15 in Paraguay.
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He scored two goals in the tournament before missing a penalty kick in the shooting, as Argentina lost to Brazil in the final, but his Messi-esque displays got attention.
“We are talking about a 15-year-old. Does he play well? Yes, but his passport says Luka Romero, not Lionel Messi,” argued Alejandro Sagesse, his coach at the tournament.
“He has to make his own story. It stands to reason that they want to compare him because there are comparisons all the time, whether you agree or disagree. This is an excessive comparison, he is being compared to a great player.”
Her father Diego agrees, having said Eph : “I don’t like comparisons with Messi. He is adding massive pressure to a 15-year-old boy.
“He is Luka, and he has Messi, a unique, dedicated and historic footballer, as a player to learn.”
So if not Messi, who could he compare himself to?
“He is left-handed, fast, elusive and competitive,” Pendin said when asked to describe his best assets. “It is the prototype of an Argentine No. 10, but it reminds me a lot of David Silva.”
Romero must now choose his next move carefully. Given his talent, he is unlikely to stay in Mallorca for much longer, although they are hoping to offer him a contract this summer that will take effect once he turns 16 in November.
Manchester United, Barcelona, Juventus and Atlético de Madrid have been cited for showing interest in signing him in the coming months, and it would not be a surprise if the other major clubs in Europe were also involved.
In any case, Messi’s comparisons are unlikely to disappear. Now it is Romero’s turn to live up to them.