Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 5
Keylor Navas officially signed his Real Madrid contract on Tuesday, before being unveiled in front of his new supporters.
Madrid's official Twitter provided coverage of the Costa Rican keeper's presentation:
Eurosport's Tom Adams noted the size of the crowd that attended Navas' unveiling:
I know there's rampant unemployment in Spain but 20,000 people (!) turned up to a keeper's presentation at the Bernabeu today.— Tom Adams (@tomEurosport) August 5, 2014
Keylor Navas has secured a deal with Real Madrid after the European champions opted to pay the Costa Rican goalkeeper's buyout clause in light of his terrific World Cup performances.
Real Madrid announced the news on Sunday:
AS passed along when Navas will be presented as a Madrid player:
Real Madrid announce that Keylor Navas will be unveiled at the Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday 5 August at 13:00 local time— AS English (@English_AS) August 3, 2014
The announcement of Navas's signing will come once the club has secured a transfer deal for Diego Lopez, who is heading for the exit door. Rafa Benitez's Napoli and Monaco are the two clubs in the running as potential new destinations for the Galician keeper.
Paulo Freitas of Sky Sports tweeted Marca's headline, which highlighted the move for the in-demand No. 1:
Who should be Real Madrid's No. 1 next season?
Navas' acrobatic style and natural exuberance is nothing new to regular watchers of La Liga. He posted an excellent season with Les Granotes, where he conceded a respectable 43 goals in 38 games with the mid-table side. Navas even captured La Liga's Player of the Month award for March, no mean feat when you consider Lionel Messi netted nine goals in six matches during this period, per WhoScored.com.
As feared by Levante for quite some time, Navas' exit comes after one of the continent's major clubs activated his €10 million buyout clause, noted by Carpio. Alleged bids from Atletico Madrid and Porto came in below this price, while Bayern Munich are said to have "come closest" to landing the bargain deal before Real stepped up.
With Diego Lopez now likely to make way, Navas faces the difficult task of maintaining a place in the Bernabeu first team. Iker Casillas is likely to remain at the club if his countryman leaves—perhaps as a sentimental choice—but there's no denying the experienced keeper faces a huge challenge to rekindle both his form and consistent place in Carlo Ancelotti's lineup.
Navas is not the type of player to become fazed on the big stage. He is used to dealing with regular danger and remains cool under pressure. We saw this both during normal play at the World Cup and with his match-winning penalty save during the round of 16 tie with Greece. But this sense of self-belief is something that has long been evident in the keeper's club career.
He was forced to work extremely hard in Brazil, as noted by OptaJoe. Impressively, this didn't stop Navas from joining an exclusive Man of the Match club, tweeted by FIFA's official Spanish account:
21 - Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas saved 21 of the 23 shots on target that he faced at this World Cup (91%). Guardian.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 14, 2014
World Cups often propel quality—yet lesser-known—players to international recognition. While Navas will remain in La Liga, his ascension to Real comes after spending four years honing his skills in Spain. He is undoubtedly a player at the peak of his powers and has the natural flamboyancy to prop up a Real side who will be looking to sweep domestic and European trophies alike next season.
Navas is Real's third major summer addition, as James Rodriguez joined last month, and joins fellow Galactico Toni Kroos in the Spanish capital, reported by Jack Gaughan of the Daily Mail. These stars are destined to play key roles during the 2014-15 season, which is shaping up to be rather exciting for Ancelotti's developing squad.