As his incredible 2015-2016 season winds down, Keylor Navas proved again Sunday that he’s not out of tricks just yet. The goalie who has been dubbed “The European Wall” by Spanish soccer magazine Marca, added to his impressive list of accolades with Real Madrid’s 4-0 win over league rival Sevilla.
When defender Raphaël Varane was called for pulling down an opposing player in the box, Sevilla was awarded a penalty kick in the 26th minute. The Spanish power had an easy chance to tie Real Madrid at 1-1 in the early going. That is, until Navas got in the way.
The Costa Rican keeper now has three penalty kick saves on the season, giving him more than any other goalie in Europe’s major five leagues, according to sports statistic web site OptaJose.
3 – Keylor Navas has equaled the best record of penalties saved by Iker Casillas in a single La Liga season (3 in 08/09). Puma.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) March 20, 2016
According to Spanish soccer statistician Alexis Martín-Tamayo, known as Mister Chip, the Costa Rican goalie has now saved eight of the 15 penalty kicks against him in his La Liga career, dating back to his time with Levante. That’s an absurd ratio of under 50 percent goals allowed, whereas penalty kicks are historically scored above a rate of 70 percent on soccer’s major levels.
Navas plans to arrive at Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaría Airport Monday afternoon to rejoin the national selection as they get set for their back-to-back games against Jamaica, beginning with Friday’s match in Kingston. Head coach Óscar Ramírez said at a news conference last week announcing the lineup that Navas will play in both games against the Jamaicans despite concerns Real Madrid would order him to sit out in preparation for El Clásico against Barcelona on April 2.
Navas and Real Madrid will then return to Champions League play in the first of their two quarterfinal matches against Wolfsburg. If Navas can go 133 minutes, or one and a half games, without conceeding a goal to the German club, he will own the longest goalless streak in Champions League history. After eight career games in the tournament of Europe’s best club teams, Navas has yet to give up a single goal.