Luka Romero: LaLiga’s record youngster can choose between three national teams

By FPL360


Talents Calendar 

June 24, 2020, entered the history books of the Spanish LaLiga: In the match between Real Madrid and RCD Mallorca (2-0), the visitors’ head coach Vicente Moreno brought on homegrown youngster Luka Romero in the 83rd minute. At just 15 years, seven months and six days old, the attacking midfielder became the youngest player in the history of the Spanish top tier, replacing Sansón after 81 years. Already back  then it was clear that the Argentine, born in Victoria de Durango, Mexico, was a special talent.

After six years with Mallorca, Romero moved to Lazio for €200,000 last summer, where he made his debut in a 6-1 victory over Spezia Calcio this season – not the youngest player in Serie A history, but of course the youngest this season at 16 years and nine months. “I have never seen a 16-year-old with so much quality and determination,” head coach Maurizio Sarri praised his player.

At Lazio, Romero immediately established himself in the first team squad, where he mostly sits on the bench. In addition, he has also made three appearances in the Primavera league to date. He had already quickly skipped the youth teams in Mallorca, where he scored 230 goals in 108 matches between 2015 and 2020. In 2011, the left-footed midfielder was supposed to join FC Barcelona’s youth academy La Masia. But because his family did not live in the region – his father, a professional footballer himself, had just moved to the Balearic island of Formentera – FIFA rules prevented the move.

Talents Calendar 2020: Here is how the players have developed

Juan Cabrera | Germany | Market value: –

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Schalke’s Juan Cabrera was listed as Uruguayan in last year’s Talents Calendar. Since then he has opted for Germany.

Pipi Nakai | Japan | Market value: –

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Pipi Nakai has made the next step at Real Madrid and is now part of the reserve team. But he is still awaiting his debut in Spain’s third division.

Bradley Fink | Switzerland | Market value: –

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Youssoufa Moukoko’s footsteps were not too big: Bradley Fink has been scoring consistently for Dortmund’s U19 side.

Alejandro Iturbe | Spain | Market value: –

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Alejandro Iturbe is slowly being integrated into Atlético Madrid’s first team and has already made the bench once.

Ramen Cepele | Albania | Market value: –

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Ramen Cepele has struggled with some smaller injuries but nonetheless has already featured for Hannover 96 II in the Regionalliga.

Turan Calhanoglu | Germany | Market value: –

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2021 has been a year to forget for Turan Calhanoglu. Hakan Calhanoglu’s cousin struggled with injuries all seasons long.

Kelvin John | Tanzania | Market value: €100,000

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“As soon as I turn 18, I will move to a big club“, said Kelvin John last year. Promise kept, the forward joined KRC Genk ahead of the season.

Bikash Yumnam | India | Market value: €100,000

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Bikash Yumnam continues his dream of moving to Europe. But it has been baby steps for the RoundGlass Punjab FC defender.

Simon Ngapandouetnbu | France | Market value: €150,000

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Born in Cameroon Simon Ngapandouetnbu has opted for France and is still awaiting his debut for Olympique Marseille’s senior team.

Seong-jin Kang | South Korea | Market value: €225,000

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Seong-jin Kang has not just become a regular starter for FC Seoul but an important first team player.

Kluiverth Aguilar | Peru | Market value: €300,000

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That Kluiverth Aguilar would move to Europe was already certain last year. Signed by Manchester City, the right-back is currently under contract at Lommel SK, which also is part of the City Group.

Xavi Simons | Netherlands | Market value: €500,000

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For Xavi Simons the last season was a mixed back. First close to the first team, the talented attacking midfielder has been ignored by Mauricio Pochettino and is currently considering a transfer to another club.

Tommaso Baldanzi | Italy | Market value: €600,000

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Tommaso Baldanzi led FC Empoli’s U19 to the championship in the Primavera and is now part of the first team.

Marcelo Flores | Mexico | Market value: €600,000

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Mexiko, Canada or England: For now Marcelo Flores the talented midfielder has opted for Mexico’s U20 but it is expected that Flores will await a final decision as Canada remains in the mix to secure the services of the 18-year-old.

Ömer Beyaz | Turkey | Market value: €1 million

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In Ömer Beyaz another talented player found the way to the Bundesliga. The 18-year-old Turkish talent has joined VfB Stuttgart.

Patryck | Brazil | Market value: €1 million

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U17 world championPatryck is part of FC São Paulo’s first team but for now still without a game.

Louie Barry | England | Market value: €1 million

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Former Barça talent Louie Barry has made his debut for Aston Villa but is currently on loan at Ipswich Town.

Loizos Loizou | Cyprus | Market value: €1.5 million

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Loizos Loizou has already won his first title with Omonia Nicosia but a transfer to a bigger league has yet to materialize.

Hannibal Mejbri | Tunisia | Market value: €3m

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Hannibal Mejbri is the third player in the calendar to switch national teams. Previously with France, the Man United talent has since made the switch to Tunisia.

Luca Oyen | Belgium | Market value: €3m

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Luca Oyen continues to collect playing time with the first team but has struggled to show the sort of consistency he displayed last season.

Caden Clark | USA | Market value: €3.5 million

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Not surprising Caden Clark will join RB Leipzig this winter. This year the 18-year-old played his first full season with New York Red Bulls with whom he was eliminated in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Ísak Bergmann Jóhannesson | Iceland | Market value: €4.5 million

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Ísak Bergmann Jóhannesson has made the next step in his career and has joined FC Copenhagen.

Arsen Zakharyan | Russia | Market value: €9 million


Arsen Zakharyan has developed into a top talent under head coach Sandro Schwarz at Dinamo Moscow and is one of the most important players at the club.

Yusuf Demir | Austria | Market value: €12 million

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Yusuf Demir has fulfilled his wish and joined FC Barcelona where he has already made his debut for the first team.

Luka Romero: Eligible for three national teams

Born in Mexico and raised in Spain, the Argentine has three passports and may well be able to choose a national team if he continues his stellar development. So far, he has played for the Albiceleste at U15 and U17 level. At the South American U15 Championship, Scott Christensen, area manager TM Argentina, watched Romero. “In my opinion, he was the second best player in the Argentina team behind Valentín Barco, the brilliant left-back who is just taking his first steps at Boca Juniors,” he recalls.

Talents Calendar - Luka Romero

Romero’s greatest strength, he says, is controlling the ball at high tempo. At youth level, Christensen continues, defenders were usually only able to stop him with a foul when he got going. Qualities that, how could it be different in Argentina, earned the Lazio youngster comparisons with Lionel Messi – also due to his height of 1.65 metres. But “although he was something of a star in the team, he had no problem contributing defensively and won many balls in counter-pressing. He has a good shot and knows how to position himself cleverly.” His defensive qualities will likely improve further under Sarri in Rome.

Gavi, Moukoko & Co.: The most valuable players born in 2004

11 Shola Shoretire – Manchester United – Market value: €3m

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As of November 29, 2021

11 Vinicius Tobias – Internacional – Market value: €3m


7 Andreas Schjelderup – FC Nordsjaelland – Market value: €5m

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7 Matheus Nascimento – Botafogo – Market value: €5m

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7 Giovani – Palmeiras – Market value: €5m

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7 Sávio – Atlético Mineiro – Market value: €5m

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6 Julio Enciso – Club Libertad – Market value: €5.5m

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5 Kaiky – Santos – Market value: €6m

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4 Ângelo Gabriel – Santos – Market value: €7m

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3 Mohamed-Ali Cho – Angers – Market value: €10m

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2 Youssoufa Moukoko – BVB – Market value: €18m

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1 Gavi – Barcelona – Market value: €25m

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Argentina expert Christensen currently sees Romero’s greatest weakness in his physicality – but that is “of course completely normal at that age. He can resist a lot of fouls and keep playing without arguing, but if he gets a bit stronger – something that will happen as time passes – he could become a very good player with his skills. Especially if he improves his right foot, because he actually does everything with his left.” The TM area manager would like Romero to play “a bit closer to the right side, where he can cut inside to find space to shoot. Then it becomes quite difficult to stop him.”

From December 1 to 24, we introduce new players from different countries born in 2004. Area managers, users, and data scouts come into play as experts throughout the series. You can follow all those players by adding them to your TM watchlist.




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