A-League: Fernando Romero joins Victory on loan

A-League cellar dwellers Melbourne Victory have strengthened their attacking stocks with the signing of Paraguayan ace Fernando Romero and the retention of Socceroo Ben Folami.

Romero has joined the Victory on loan for the rest of the season from Paraguayan Primera Division side Cerro Porteno, while 23-year-old Folami has extended his stay at the club until at least 2025.

“It has been great to see Ben’s growth with Victory in recent seasons,” Victory director of football John Didulica said.

“His professionalism and dedication to becoming a better footballer has seen him develop over his time at Victory, including being elevated into the Socceroos, and we’re looking forward to see him take his football to the next level.”

Sydney-born Folami initially joined the Victory on loan in 2020 from English club Ipswich Town before signing a permanent deal with the Melbourne club in July 2021.

“Since joining the club, I’ve felt home at Melbourne Victory and I’m really motivated to continue to take my game to the next level,” said the scorer of seven goals in 57 A-League appearances.

“The playing and coaching group have been amazing over the past season and a bit, and I’m excited to see what this group can achieve.”

While Folami is set to feature for the Victory against the Jets in Newcastle on Sunday, 22-year-old Romero is yet to arrive in Melbourne in the coming weeks and won’t play until his international clearance is confirmed

“I want to show the fans what I can do as a footballer and repay the faith the club has put in me to represent this proud club,” Romero said.

“This is a new challenge for me but a challenge that I’m looking forward to, and ready to deliver.”

Victory coach Tony Popovic said the potential to bring “something special” to last-placed club.

“He is a young prospect who already has very valuable experience across competitions such as the Copa Libertadores,” Popovic said.

“Fernando is an exciting talent who has the ability to play across the front line, and we’re looking forward to seeing him play for our club.”

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