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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Former Costa Rica soccer boss alleges Keylor Navas planned to lose games to fire coach

A former president of Costa Rican soccer said Monday that PSG goalkeeper and a captain of the Costa Rican team, Keylor Navas, planned in 2014 to lose games to force the dismissal of coach Jorge Luis Pinto.

“I remember that it was Keylor Navas who told me: We lose 3 games, there is a clause like this and like that,” commented the former leader of the Costa Rican Football Federation, Eduardo Li, during a trial whose details were disclosed by local media.

“Such was this issue that I made the decision not to renew Pinto,” Li said.

The former president testified as a defense witness in a defamation proceeding brought by Navas, along with the captains of La Sele, Bryan Ruiz (Alajuelense) and Celso Borges (Deportivo La Coruña), against two leaders, for having said that they conspired to cause Pinto’s exit.

Li recalled that the clause stipulated that if the team lost three consecutive games, the leadership would be in a position to terminate the contract with the manager.

The events would have occurred after the return of La Sele to San José after their historic finish at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, a historic result for the country, in a tournament where Navas was a star and catapulted his international career.

Players complained of disagreements in dealing with Pinto, known for his heavy hand.

But it wasn’t until 2018 that Adrián Gutiérrez, the former national team manager, commented in an interview about the players’ alleged intentions, triggering the lawsuit.

Those affected are asking for an equivalent of almost $60,000 each as compensation.

The trial began last Friday with statements from Navas himself via the internet, from France.

According to press reports, Navas acknowledged that there were disagreements with Pinto, but that he was “very surprised” because he did not plan to lose games.

“It is something that has not left our mouths nor will it ever happen, because we have been professional footballers for many years, where we have earned an honor and prestige,” Navas explained, according to the newspaper Diario Extra.

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