Sergio Romero suffers knee injury and will miss World Cup; Armani or Caballero now number one


One of the few positions on the pitch that seemed fairly certain for Argentina was Sergio Romero’s status as number one but the Manchester United goalkeeper has suffered a knee injury in training and will now miss the World Cup.

Romero, already Argentina’s most capped goalkeeper of all-time, could have reached the milestone of 100 appearances in Russia and it would have been his third World Cup.

However, an injury to his right knee has ruled Romero out and Argentina will now look to bring in their fourth choice goalkeeper, presumably Nahuel Guzmán, despite the Tigres goalkeeper’s father taking to social media to berate Sampaoli for leaving out his son.

The bigger question is now who will be Argentina’s first choice and that will either be Chelsea’s Willy Caballero or River Plate’s Franco Armani.

Despite turning 37 later this year, Caballero only made his international debut in March, impressing in a victory over Italy before replacing an injured Romero days later during the 6-1 thrashing by Spain.

The other option is even less experienced and if Jorge Sampaoli opts for Franco Armani, the River goalkeeper will be making his debut in Russia.

Much will be made from River Plate supporters that when Argentina have won the World Cup, it has been their goalkeeper between the sticks: Ubaldo Fillol in 1978 and Nery Pumpido in 1986.

However, superstitions aside, Armani’s claim for the number one position was already growing.


The 31-year-old has arguably been the best goalkeeper in South America for the past two or three years. His heroics with Atlético Nacional saw the Colombians lift the Copa Libertadores in 2016 but Argentina continued to look elsewhere until his switch to River Plate in January had the desired effect.

With his profile raised, Armani has been sensational since returning to Argentina and his record of 12 clean sheets in 20 appearances saw him make his late charge into Sampaoli’s squad.

That may now not only mean a place in the squad but a starting role if Armani pips Caballero to that responsibility.

Many will argue that Armani should already be Argentina’s number one but for Romero’s continual lack of playing time at club level, Chiquito has never let Argentina down. His experience and familiarity with the defence will be a blow.

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