FC Pyunik were more hopeful than expectant when they offered César Romero, a forward with limited spells in the United States, Mexico and Germany behind him, a two-week trial in August. Fourteen games and 17 goals later and that punt is looking shrewd business, with the club that finished sixth last term now dreaming of a 14th Armenian title. UEFA.com profiles a Mexican-American making waves.
San Diego-born Romero kicked off his career in his family's homeland, Mexico, joining Tigres UANL aged 15. He returned to the United States a few years later and, after acquiring US citizenship, represented the country at several youth levels. There were stints on the lower rungs of the German and Mexican club ladders before, aged 22, he got his break with Chivas USA in 2012. However, after just 12 Major League Soccer matches, he was released. He returned to Mexico and Murciélagos FC – until Pyunik came calling in August.
Romero made an immediate impression at the most decorated club in Armenia, quickly establishing himself as Pyunik's golden boy. Since scoring his first goal, against Alashkert FC in his second Premier League game, he has not looked back and ended the first half of the season with 17 goals in 14 outings – eight more than anyone else. He was initially deployed behind the strikers, but Romero was transformed into an out-and-out forward and made a real impact.
All those goals are not enough for Pyunik to top the table. They trailed Ulisses FC by four points going into the sides' meeting in the last round of fixtures before the winter break. A win was essential. Cue: César Romero. Two goals later, and a 3-0 home victory leaves things finely poised ahead of the resumption in March.
Skilful and composed, Romero reads the game well and boasts great vision. He has a sixth sense for goalkeepers straying too far off their line and offers a considerable threat, especially with more intricate play and from free-kicks.
"When you make mistakes you have to expect opponents to punish you. If they have Romero then that punishment will come for sure. He is 70% of Pyunik's success. With a player like him clubs can set lofty goals."
Zsolt Hornyák, coach of champions FC Banants, after Romero netted twice in a 3-2 Pyunik win against his team on 18 November.
"The people of Armenia are very welcoming and will never turn their back if you need help – even if they do not know your language. It is the same in the team. The spirit is very friendly, but also very professional."
Romero on the lure of Yerevan.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.