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Cristian Romero

In collaboration with Maddox Gallery

World Exclusive

Location: Maddox Gallery Photographer: Duncan Elliot Videographer: Steven Halliwell Jewellery: Craftd LDN Watch: Vacheron Constantin Additional Watches: Xanco Jewellers Stylist: Annabel Webster

Cristian Romero is an artist in his own right.

An artist born from hardship, triumph and resilience.

To you and me, Cristian has a reputation for being a fierce competitor and loyal teammate. But off the field, he reveals a different side to his character: one of a deferential family man whose singular ambition is to support his family and make them proud.

In reality, Cristian’s character shouldn’t surprise you. At only 24, he is a leader for club and country on and off the pitch, a remarkable feat in squads bearing some of the biggest names in world football.

In all regards, Cristian is at the zenith of his career. So, to mark this pivotal juncture in his life, we sat down with him at Maddox Gallery’s latest Mayfair showroom for an exclusive insight into the enigmatic figure that is Cristian Gabriel Romero.

Since he arrived in London, Cristian Romero has become the epitome of a new-look Spurs and the poster boy of Ange Postecoglou’s revolution. His collaboration with Maddox Gallery is timely and marks a milestone for him and Maddox, who continue to make waves in their respective worlds.

At a time when Spurs are starting to gather momentum in the Premier League, Maddox has unveiled its latest Gallery on Berkeley Street in the heart of Mayfair, London’s pre-eminent district. Its inaugural exhibition featured works from acclaimed photographer David Yarrow, best known for evocative and immersive photography of life on earth.

It was another display of intention from Maddox, which has quickly become the leading modern and contemporary art gallery since its inception in 2015. Founded by Jay Rutland and Mario Zonias, Maddox boasts five locations across London and Gstaad and has become synonymous with respected blue-chip, established and emerging artists, including Banksy, Harland Miller, and Damien Hirst, to name a few.

Their focus is — and always has been — on supporting the work of artists who are a part of the Maddox Gallery Group, a carefully curated network of distinguished talents. The artists chosen to be a part of this exclusive group have all garnered worldwide acclaim and recognition for their abilities, which makes Maddox’s collaboration with Cristian all the more fitting.

As a result of his recent success with Spurs and Argentina, Cristian himself has become globally recognised for his talents, and today, he is widely considered one of the best footballers in the Premier League and among the most revered defenders on the planet. Unsurprisingly, much of his talent can be traced back to his upbringing in South America, where football is considered an art form.

Interestingly, how Cristian plays football mirrors his approach to art; he relies on gut feeling, intuition, and emotion to guide him instead of following preconceived notions of how he should think and behave.

“I’m not an expert when it comes to art,” says Cristian. “I love the paintings here at Maddox, but I mostly buy art because I like what I see, not because I know its value. Sometimes, I might not know the artist, but something about their work identifies with me or gives me a feeling I can’t explain. That is what makes art special, in my opinion.”

In an industry often considered convoluted and complex, Cristian’s take is refreshingly simple: art should transport you to another time or place and be appreciated for the feelings and memories it evokes, regardless of its value or investment potential.

With its vibrant art scene, London is home to some of the most influential artists and works anywhere in the world. It has also become home for Cristian and his family since they arrived in 2021. In the years that have followed, they have immersed themselves fully in all the city has to offer, including its cultural richness — a sentiment mirrored by Maddox Gallery’s commitment to showcasing contemporary works from diverse artists.

It’s one of many reasons that Maddox Gallery has become a globally recognised luxury brand rather than simply an art gallery. Its reputation aligns seamlessly with London’s allure, drawing young and affluent individuals like Cristian, who appreciate the city’s exclusive lifestyle.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to live in a few different cities during my career, but nothing compares to London,” says Cristian. “It’s a city with a brilliant story and, in my opinion, the world’s capital. I love the people here, the diversity and the history.

“I think London will always be home for me and my family even when my career has ended. The city will always hold a special place in my heart because my son, the most important person to me, was born here in London. We’re really happy here.”

At 25, Cristian has most of his life ahead of him, but his journey has already been extraordinary. From the lively streets of the Villa Rivadavia region of Córdoba to the bright lights of the world’s grandest stadiums, Cristian has followed in the footsteps of Argentine legends like Ossie Ardiles and Paulo Dybala despite his humble start in life.

Looking back, he has only fond memories from his childhood — days spent playing football on the streets and makeshift pitches with his brother and cousins. As he reflects on his formative years, Cristian admits his life could have turned out differently were it not for the guidance of his parents.

“When I was younger, the world seemed to change, and Argentina changed,” says Cristian. “Drugs began to appear on the street corners, and ugly things started happening in our neighbourhood. Thankfully, I had parents who kept me away from all that, and I was able to dedicate myself to football.

“Today, whenever I set foot on the field, I think about my childhood playing football in the streets with my brother and cousins. Those memories are beautiful for me, and where I come from, it’s tough to get to where I am today, so I keep those memories close.

“That’s why I enjoy where I am today twice as much. I have great memories and am grateful to have had that upbringing, but I am happy to have left my life in that neighbourhood behind.”

As for many Argentine greats, a modest start in life often paves the way for an exceptional career. Year after year, the nation produces supremely talented footballers, owing to the upbringing, culture and values instilled within them from an early age.

Cristian embodies that narrative, hailing from one of Argentina’s most densely populated cities and now representing his country on the world stage. He’s come a long way from his days at Club Atlético Belgrano in Córdoba, the club that, in his own words, ‘formed him in practically every way’.

However, it was Serie A where he really made his mark. From Genoa to Atalanta, where he earned the title of best defender in the 2020-21 season, Cristian’s performances earned him a move to Italian giants Juventus before a dream move to the Premier League came calling.

In Cristian’s eyes, playing in the Premier League was necessary to realise his childhood dreams. To make his international debut, he knew he had to play in the most competitive league in world football, and thankfully, his decision paid off.

“If I were a person who only thought about money, I would have made different decisions, but my thoughts were always about playing for Argentina,” he says. “That’s why I had to play in the Premier League, and to do that with Tottenham Hotspur, one of the most important clubs in the game, has been incredible. I am grateful to the club and its supporters for the trust they have shown me and I will always try to repay that on the field.”

In 2021, Spurs were in a transitional period, and the club appeared to be in constant flux. Amid a challenging time on and off the field, Cristian emerged as a beacon of light in the Spurs squad. His win-at-all-costs mentality endeared him to supporters, and today, he is a fan-favourite at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

This season, his performances catapulted Spurs to its best-ever start in a Premier League season, accumulating 26 points from their first 10 games. Cristian — a crucial part of the jigsaw — attributes the positive change to Ange Postecoglou’s appointment and the newly unified spirit within the dressing room.

“This season has started in the best way possible,” says Cristian. “We are delighted that the club appointed a coach like Ange. It has been hugely important for everyone at the club, especially the young players. The club needed a coach with the same identity as its history.

“We have started well, but there is a long way to go. I am optimistic, of course, but it is a competitive league. As a professional, I want to win trophies and compete in the best competitions, but everything depends on our mentality. The club has a great atmosphere, and we are definitely getting closer to achieving our goals. If we continue to follow the right steps, things can only improve.”

As optimism pervades the Spurs camp, the club appears reinvigorated from top to bottom. With a new-look squad of players who understand what it means to play for Tottenham Hotspur, everyone associated with the Lilywhites is pulling in the same direction.

That, along with a passionate fan base who have a genuine belief for the first time in several years, and Spurs have found the winning formula to become a trophy-winning side again. But, as Cristian rightly points out, success always begins at the top.

“Winning trophies depends on many things, not just the players and coaching staff,” he says. “The club has to be well organised, starting with the most important person, the President. He is the one who must make the right decisions so that the club is performing well in every aspect.

“But we’re in the perfect position. The club has made all the correct decisions, from the coach to the sporting director and all the staff members. If they continue making these decisions and continue on this path, we will get closer to winning trophies.”

Spurs’ last trophy came in 2008, and the years since have provided their fair share of turbulence. But to break the spell that has befallen them, they will need as many experienced winners in the dressing room as possible. Thankfully for Spurs, Cristian has more experience than most in winning major trophies.

Last December, Cristian and his teammates ended a 35-year wait for the people of Argentina when they won the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. During a fabled four weeks in the Arabian Peninsula, the world watched Lionel Messi, Argentina’s talismanic leader, lead his teammates to footballing immortality.

As Cristian reflects on an unforgettable month in the desert, it becomes clear that winning the World Cup meant much more to him than simply receiving a trophy. It represented the culmination of the hard work, sacrifice, and dedication he had shown the game throughout the last two decades.

“Winning the World Cup is the most important achievement for a footballer,” says Cristian. “To do that at 24 years old, in a golden generation of the national team, is remarkable. We will go down in history, not just in Argentina but in world football, which is special.

“At home, I have a painting of the moment we lifted the trophy and every day I wake up, I see it, and it reminds me of how I touched that trophy with my hands. I still touch it whenever I train with the national team, which is always a great feeling.”

Art has a unique ability to create a profound emotional connection with people, just as it has done in this case for Cristian. That is why it is considered one of the most impassioned investments you can make and the reason brands like Maddox Gallery exist — to provide guidance and support for art enthusiasts, regardless of their level of knowledge.

When artists engage in the creative process, it becomes a cathartic outpost to channel emotions that may be difficult to convey through other means. It is one of the primary reasons footballers like Cristian treat their bodies as blank canvasses for artistic expression. Thanks to a tattoo depicting the trophy, the memory of winning the World Cup will remain etched in his mind, home and skin.

But nothing will ever replicate the feelings Cristian, his family, and his teammates experienced that night. For a professional footballer, there is no bigger dream or a more significant achievement. At that moment, life peaked for Cristian.

“It was my first World Cup, and I have the most beautiful memories,” says Cristian. “Singing the national anthem side by side with my teammates, feeling those emotions run through my body, fulfilled my greatest dream as a footballer.

“The most important part of the whole tournament for me was having my wife and son accompany me throughout the journey as they always do. Thankfully, they could enjoy it by my side, supporting me in the good and bad moments.”

Cristian, a luminary figure both on and off the pitch, has achieved what most would have thought was unthinkable in his relatively short career. In this exclusive glimpse into his life, we have discovered more than a footballer; we find an artist shaped by the guidance of his parents and deep love and appreciation for his wife and son.

His collaboration with Maddox Gallery, a brand renowned for showcasing artists at the height of their influence, marks a pivotal moment for all. The synergy between Cristian’s ethos as a footballer and Maddox’s vision has uncovered a unique connection that extends beyond the confines of the Gallery.

Maddox’s newest location embodies that and is a testament to the shared philosophy between Maddox and Cristian — a philosophy centred around celebrating memories, experiences, and the emotions which guide our thoughts and feelings. Together, Cristian and Maddox will continue to shape a world where luxury is not just observed but felt — a space where every stroke of emotion and every memory becomes an integral part of their legacy.

I have been working closely with the company since I came to Tottenham. I knew them before when I was at Atalanta but ended up meeting them here in England and they are incredible.

They have always been very attentive; everything that we have done we have always worked with them with the utmost professionalism, and they have always treated me first class.

They are important to me because they also comfort me a lot. Any problems or ideas that occur to me on a daily basis, or whatever comes up, be it a trip, a gift or a party, whatever you need, they are always available to you.

I think that if they continue working as they do, they will become one of the biggest companies in the world, so I’m very happy to work with them.

Cristian Romero