It’s been a while since we’ve seen him in action. A very long time. Wednesday against Spain, Keylor Navas will play his first official match for more than five months. His last appearance dates back to June 14. A victory in selection against New Zealand (1-0) which had opened the doors of Qatar to Costa Rica. Like a symbol. The national team is a bit like the last way for the PSG goalkeeper to play a football match. He no longer has this opportunity within his club.
Christophe Galtier had decided on the spot by putting down his suitcases in Paris. And put an end to this alternation of goalkeepers which had caused far too much ink to flow last season. The Parisian coach has set up a real hierarchy, with Gianluigi Donnarumma in number one, and Keylor Navas in a role of understudy for the Italian. It is an understatement to say that Galtier stuck to it. The Costa Rican has not had the right to a single second of playing time with the reigning French champion this season. The logic of a hierarchy.
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But also a form of injustice, too. Navas did not deserve this treatment after having taken PSG over a course since his arrival in 2019. He made a very clear contribution to the progression of the Parisian club in the Champions League, with a final in 2020 and a semi-final in 2021 , before seeing Donnarumma land in the capital. “It’s been hard for usrecognizes Esteban Valverde, journalist for the Costa Rican daily La Nacion. But he was always seen as someone who knows how to pick himself up despite the circumstances.”
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Costa Rica is never insensitive to Navas’ situation. He has taken far too important a place in the hearts of Costa Ricans for it to be otherwise. “He is undoubtedly the greatest player in the history of Costa Ricabelieves Esteban Valverde. Because there was his incredible spell at Real Madrid with three Champions Leagues and his incredible World Cup in 2014. He with, with Claudia Poll (gold medalist in swimming at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, editor’s note) one of the most important and influential people in sport in our country.”
“An example for children”
It’s an understatement. Navas’ popularity goes beyond football in Costa Rica. He is one of its icons. “He is the most recognized athlete and the example for children to followsummarizes Esteban Valverde. It has achieved a level of recognition that makes it a national symbol“And his delicate situation at the club has not changed that. Quite the contrary.”It’s an exampleadds the Costa Rican journalist. It shows that even when people try to thwart your dreams, if you fight for them, you achieve them.”
Christophe Galtier was clear on the hierarchy of goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma is n°1 and Keylor Navas is n°2.
Credit: Getty Images
Navas did not wait to live in the shadow of Donnarumma after bringing light to PSG to set this example. His situation at Real Madrid had similarities to the one he’s going through in Paris. His impact had been crucial in the Merengue club’s three consecutive European titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018. This did not prevent the Madrid leaders from paying 35 million euros to fetch Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea in 2018 and install him as the titular goalkeeper. Even if it means relegating an irreproachable Navas, to put it mildly, on the bench of substitutes.
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This status that he now has at PSG is not without consequence. Navas landed in Qatar lacking in rhythm, and handicapped by back pain. But that is not enough to create doubt in the minds of Costa Ricans with regard to their last bastion. “We’ve been through this before with him.recalls Esteban Valverde. At Levante, his early years were just as complicatedNavas had found the resources to win at the Spanish club, just before guiding Costa Rica to the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup.
This Brazilian epic remains to date the best result of the Ticos in a World Cup. Eight years later, Costa Rica have the weapons to shine in Qatar, even if they fell into a frankly full-bodied group with two former winners of the tournament, Spain and Germany. But the status of challenger suits him well. “We have the ambition to do at least as well as in Brazilannounces Esteban Valverde. Navas is our star, but there are other players like Joel Cambell, Francisco Calvo or Celso Borges who are set to shine and build on what Keylor achieves in goal.” With its guardian angel, Costa Rica has reason to believe in its lucky star.
Keylor Navas (PSG) decides with Costa Rica against El Salvador
Credit: Getty Images
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