By Alfonso Duro / VOXXI
July 18th, 2014 (VOXXI) Costa Rican superstar Keylor Navas will be inking a new contract this summer with Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid after knocking it out of the park during the World Cup with his national team.
The Ticos were the main attraction of the first round of the World Cup, as they came out of the toughest group in the first round, playing against three past champions like England, Uruguay and Italy, and then beating Greece in the round of 16.
By the time Jorge Luis Pinto’s men made it to quarter finals against the Netherlands, their goalkeeper was already a planet-wide sensation.
Keylor Navas was key in each of the victories that Costa Rica racked up in the tournament, but it was mostly against the Dutch when he shined like no other.
Levante’s former goalkeeper made save-after-save against Arjen Robben and his gang, and there was no big squad in Europe that didn’t think about signing him right then and there for the upcoming season.
The Costa Rican player had a wonderful season with Levante, getting all the playing time available for the first time in his three years in the club, and his 10 million euro price tag made him a very attractive target to the top teams in the world.
Before the end of the season, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona had already shown an interest in his signing. The last champion and runner up from last season were both in a tricky situation as they were both losing their starting goalkeepers this summer.
Thibout Courtois was returning to Chelsea from the Colchoneros, while Victor Valdes had everything ready to become Monaco’s goalkeeper until his knee injury broke the negotiation. Navas, just 10 million euro away, seemed as the best option for both jobs.
Then the World Cup began and Keylor Navas started playing as he had never before, or perhaps as he had always been playing although no one had been watching.
Bayern Munich was rumored to be interested in wanting to sign Navas, and according to Spanish press, the goalkeeper was very much ready to say “I do” to Pep Guardiola’s team.
However, his competition with Manuel Neuer, FIFA’s top goalkeeper in the Brazil 2014 World Cup, seemed as too much to handle for the Tico at a very sweet moment in his career, and he decided to keep waiting for the right call.
And the call finally came from Madrid.
With Atletico Madrid signing Slovenian Jan Oblak, and Barcelona inking both Bravo and Ter Stegen, Navas’ options were quickly running out, and while Spartak Moscow would have also happily paid the 10 million price tag for the goalkeeper, his yearning for staying in Spain was stronger than the money he could get in a minor competition like the Russian.
Real Madrid, looking to solve the puzzle they created on their goal last season, decided to put up the money and sign Keylor Navas for the next four years.
The idea now is that Diego Lopez will be transferred –although he has already said leaving the club is not in his plans— and have Navas and Casillas compete for the full starting role with the Merengues.
Carlo Ancelotti does not want to repeat the sharing of responsibilities the club went through last season, and the goalkeeper who becomes the starter will do so both in La Liga and in the Champions League.
There’s a possibility that, after a tough year and heartbreaking World Cup, Iker Casillas may not be up to another year of full-on competition with Keylor Navas, in which case Real Madrid would look to sell their captain and hire another goalie.
Whichever the case may be, Navas could not be any happier to have joined the current Champions League champion after having a wonderful World Cup, and he will welcome the competition; be it against Casillas or anyone else.