Costa Rica’s star goalie is heading to Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid, according to Spain’s daily sports newspaper Marca. The national paper put Keylor Navas on the cover for Wednesday’s edition with the headline “Keylor to Madrid.”
That’s a much better destination for Navas than what was rumored last week — when it was expected the Tico would land with German champions Bayern Munich. In Munich, Navas would have backed up Germany’s World Cup-winning goalie Manuel Neuer. The 28-year-old German also beat out Navas to win the Golden Glove, which is awarded to the World Cup’s best goalie.
With Real Madrid, Navas will have the chance to start. The club’s current keepers Iker Casillas — also the starting goalie for Spain’s national team and the 2010 winner of the Golden Glove — and Diego López both have uncertain futures with Real Madrid. (Marca’s front page says a deal to send López to Napoli or Monaco will occur in the upcoming days).
Navas, 27, currently plays for Spanish middleweight Levante. But the Tico has made frequent appearances in the rumor mill after his star-making turn at the World Cup. He saved 21 of 23 (91 percent) shots on target in Brazil, while leading Costa Rica to its first-ever quarterfinals appearance.
Even before the tournament started, Navas was garnering interest from Europe’s top clubs after a record-breaking season with Levante. However, a €10 million ($13.5 million) buyout clause scared off some bidders. Marca states that the deal will send €8 million ($10.8 millon) to Levante and another €2 million ($2.7 million) to Navas.