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Opinion: What Thibaut Courtois' arrival means for Keylor Navas

Ishaan Tewari
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
1.87K   //    10 Aug 2018, 03:07 IST

Real Madrid Unveil New Signing Thibaut Courtois
Real Madrid unveils new signing Thibaut Courtois

As Thibaut Courtois completes his move from Chelsea to Real Madrid, the Bernabeu faithful have mixed feelings about the transfer.

The arrival of one of the world's best goalkeepers is certainly an exciting prospect, and the player is a valuable addition to a team that just lost Cristiano Ronaldo, but at the same time it puts a question mark on their current number one goalie's future.

Keylor Navas has won 3 straight Champions League titles as well as one La Liga title with Los Merengues since arriving in 2014 after a brilliant season with Levante and a stellar performance at the World Cup in Brazil.

There is no doubt that the Costa Rican has been instrumental in Real's recent success, particularly their exploits in the Champions League.

Real Madrid v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final
Navas has won three straight Champions League titles with Real

Despite the success he has had at the club, there has for some reason always been doubts raised by the club's management over his quality, and whether a keeper like him should be at a club like Real.

In fact, Navas would surely not be at the club right now if it wasn't for the infamous fax machine malfunction in 2015 which denied David De Gea a switch from Old Trafford to the Bernabeu.

It is worth noting that after that incident, Real went on to win three consecutive Champions League titles and La Liga in 2017 with Navas guarding their net. He has been nothing but a true professional despite the negative treatment he has received from the Real Madrid hierarchy.

While Courtois' transfer indicates that Navas' time at Real has come to an end, the Costa Rican in typical fashion said that he has 'the same desire to leave Real as he has to die'.

And his dedication to the club has not gone unnoticed by manager Julen Lopetegui, believing he can work with both of them.

Perhaps Lopetegui will do what Carlo Ancelotti did during the 2013-14 season with goalkeepers Iker Casillas and Diego Lopez - use one in the league, and the other in all cup matches, including the Champions League.

Keylor has always been his managers' preferred choice. Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez, and Zinedine Zidane all voiced their support for the player. It has always been the club's management who have seemed displeased with him for a reason no one seems to understand.

Malaga CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga
Navas shared a great understanding with former manager Zinedine Zidane

It has been rumored that Real's pursuit of Chelsea's new goalie Kepa in January this year really upset then manager Zidane, and it was one of the reasons he quit the club after the end of last season. Navas, upon the Frenchman's departure had stated that Zidane had always trusted him.

For now Real have another problem to sort out. If Keylor stays, which seems almost certain after his comments, Real will have 5 goalkeepers in the squad - Navas, Courtois, Kiko Casilla, Andrea Lunin, and Luca Zidane.

It appears that Casilla and Luca Zidane will be offloaded, with Lunin going away on loan to get some playing time under his belt.

Despite the controversy surrounding Courtois' arrival, one thing is clear - if Lunin proves to be as good as Real think he is, then the goalkeeper position is covered for the next decade at least.

For Keylor Navas, this seems like just the start to any other season - constant speculation and doubts over his future are things that he has surely grown accustomed to. The only difference is that he now has a world class goalkeeper fighting with him to be Real's number one.

Juventus v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final
Navas will look to fight for his place at Real this season

However, looking at Navas' commitment and dedication towards serving the club over the past few seasons, you can't help but think that this is a challenge he relishes and is ready for.

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Ishaan Tewari
CONTRIBUTOR
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