Ever since the arrival of Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea last summer, Keylor Navas was reduced to the second goalkeeper spot. Playing times were limited to only Copa Del Rey ties under Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari. Only three starts in the La Liga till the time when Solari was sacked. The arrival, or rather return of Zinedine Zidane has been a major boost in his future at the club. Navas was picked between the post over Courtois and he stood firm to see his side get to a comfortable 2-0 victory at Celta Vigo. It was his flying save that saved Real from going a goal down in the first half an hour itself.
The Costa Rican shot-stopper has been instrumental to Zidane's terrific run at the club as a manager. He won eight trophies in two and a half years under Zidane. This included an astonishing three consecutive UEFA Champions League triumphs too. It didn't come as a surprise for anyone to see him back in the lineup after Zidane's arrival, given their track record at the club. Real Madrid will next host Huesca next in La Liga. Is Madrid really well-off with Keylor Navas as their first-choice goalkeeper?
Here are three reasons why Keylor Navas is just the right man for Real Madrid:
His track record with the Spanish giants: This was going to be his fifth campaign with the Los Blancos, having signed from Levante for a mere fee of around £10 million in the summer of the 2014-15 season. In the first season, he was more of a backup to Iker Casillas. He was called upon in the Cup ties only. Madrid accepted to transfer Navas to Manchester United in a swap deal for David De Gea. But this deal dramatically collapsed in the dying seconds of the Transfer window. His breakthrough season came in 2015-16 where he won the UEFA Champions League and became the first Costa Rican to play as well as win the Men's UCL final. The two subsequent UCL triumphs in the following years saw him cement his place as one of the best keepers in the world. But the 2018-19 season started with the much-anticipated arrival of Thibaut Courtois. The 32-year-old shot stopper made his 150th appearance for the club in a 3-0 home win against Leganes in the Copa Del Rey.
His patience and faith towards the club: Getting yourself sold to another club and then the deal-breaking through at the last moment. And you are left with your old employers only. Perhaps the worst scenario for any player but he showed some nerves of steel when he came back and guided Real to a rather successful period for three subsequent years, which included three UCL triumphs. His attitude and spirit towards the club is a thing to behold. Kissing the badge every now and then, showing his love towards Real. He has been one of the most underrated stars in the team, but will it be enough to hold his position in the coming months?
Behaviour issues with Courtois: It has been the same at his previous clubs as well. Courtois has been subject to a lot of criticism for his behaviour throughout his career. First, it was Atletico Madrid, then Chelsea and now Real. He doesn't turn up to training every once in a while. While there have been nearly nine months since his move to Madrid, reports claim that he hasn't got well along with his teammates. And Navas has been exceptional at this aspect too, making more of a family within the squad. Fans have complained of his lack of desire for the club.
Both are top quality goalkeepers, ready to fit in at any top European squad. Let's see who comes on top in this battle?