As one of the largest international football games in the world, Argentina facing off against Brazil is ‘the one’ for any Argentine. Being able to take to the field against the Seleção is a famous moment for any player – to do so for the Albiceleste, though, is unique. And to have the chance to repeat their victory on Brazilian soil that brought home the 2021 Copa America, whilst breaking Brazil’s historical unbeaten home run in FIFA World Cup qualification? Unique. Truly unique.
Unfortunately, this weekend, the unicity of the game was on show for totally incorrect reasons: breaches of protocol.
For Tottenham, the fact that new signing Cristian Romero broke protocol to travel to red-zone listed nation Brazil was bad enough. To then get caught up in an alleged falsification of documents, proclaiming he was not in the UK prior to arriving in Brazil in a bid to circumvent quarantine protocol, is a huge red flag. Given Spurs paid so much for the player, and there was so much challenge in getting the deal done, there might already be a tinge of worry – even regret – over the conduct of the player.
More surprising was that he was joined by teammate Giovani Lo Celso. The Argentine playmaker has shown a mature, erudite personality since he arrived in England. Such a serious misstep in judgement is likely to cause the player a place in the squad, but it could also come with potential legal repercussions for the duo in the months to come.
As authorities raced onto the field moments after kick-off to detain the players who broke the rules on COVID protocol, fans watched aghast. What was supposed to be the flagship international game of the calendar was abandoned moments after it had started.
For Spurs, though, the problems go far beyond wasted time and energy.
Could the Argentina-Brazil incident cost Spurs two key players?
Under Nuno Espirito Santo, it is believed that both players are seen as cornerstones of his plan. To see both make such a foolish decision to enter Brazil without being totally honest about their previous whereabouts is a huge black mark. It shows a selfish streak and a huge sense of immaturity, a failure to grasp the seriousness of the situation, and a total lack of respect to law.
While there can be arguments about how Brazil has handled the situation and how suitable the reaction was, the facts are simple: the two Spurs players are in hot water. This might not be the end of the situation, which could lead to even more issues for both players.
Given the excellent start to the season for Spurs, this is the last thing that the club would need, want, or expect. As such, going against their employers wishes to even travel in the first place is likely to cause a headache. The fact the duo are now front and centre of one of the biggest COVID controversies in the sport adds yet more negative publicity that Spurs could have done without.