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Zidane: No debate between Courtois and Navas next season

April 2, 2019

Real Madrid could sell Thibaut Courtois or Keylor Navas this summer after head coach Zinedine Zidane said on Tuesday the club will have a clear first-choice goalkeeper next season.

Zidane also defended his choice to play neither keeper against Huesca on Saturday, instead handing his 20-year-old son Luca only his second competitive start for the Spanish giants.

Courtois was signed from Chelsea last summer, despite Navas winning UEFA’s best goalkeeper award after helping Madrid win the Champions League.

Santiago Solari then put faith in Courtois during his four months in charge but Navas, a favorite of Zidane’s, came back in for the Frenchman’s opening game against Celta Vigo last month.

“At the moment there are three good keepers and we are going to finish the season with them,” Zidane said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“But I assure you that next season there will be no debate about the goalkeeper, I’ll tell you that now. It’s going to be very clear.”

Luca Zidane’s surprise promotion came after Courtois picked up a knock on international duty with Belgium while Navas had trained only once after returning from Costa Rica.

But it suggests Zidane feels his son, who joined Madrid’s academy aged six when his father was playing for the club, is ready to compete for a place.

“Luca is here on his own merit,” Zidane said. “He’s been here for 16 years. If people who want to go on about the personal thing, I don’t care.”

Madrid will face Valencia on Wednesday in La Liga, after needing an 89th-minute winner from Karim Benzema to beat Huesca 3-2 on Saturday and make it two wins from two since Zidane’s return.

But Barcelona remain 12 points clear of them at the top of the table, with focus continuing on potential changes to Zidane’s squad in the summer.

“I have spoken to the club and I have told them what we want to do,” said Zidane.

“This is an institution, a club with important people. We do things together, as always,” he added.

Gareth Bale is among those whose future is in doubt. The Welshman was again whistled by some of the home fans on Saturday.

“I know whistles are never good, I’ve been whistled at, you have to accept it. You have to have the character for it,” Zidane said.

“About Gareth’s future, we’ll talk about that at the end of the season. We have to finish the season then we’ll see.”

Zidane was more emphatic about the future of his World Cup-winning defender, Raphael Varane.

“I want him to stay,” Zidane said. “We don’t want a Madrid without Varane.

“He’s a young player and he seems fine to me, he has not told me otherwise.”


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