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Will Keylor Navas End Iker Casillas' Real Madrid Career?

Costa Rica's goalkeeper Keylor Navas celebrates after Costa Rica's Joel Campbell scored during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Bernat Armangue/Associated Press
Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentDecember 31, 2016

Real Madrid announcing the signing of Keylor Navas from Levante sounds the death knell of either Real No. 1 Diego Lopez or struggling goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Here is a scouting report of Navas, a 27-year-old, 6'0", 172-pound Costa Rican international. 

 

Navas Positives

After an exceptional season for Levante and a FIFA World Cup campaign reminiscent of compatriot Luis Gabelo Conejo, Navas is regarded as one of the pre-eminent shot-stoppers in the world.

Navas accumulated a higher amount of saves, catches and punched clearances per 90 minutes than Lopez and Casillas last season, according to Squawka.

Credit: Squawka.com

Being a game-saver is why Navas can become a crucial component of Real president Florentino Perez's latest Galacticos era.

Almeria substitute Oscar Diaz's scorched shot was saved adroitly by Navas, who ensured Levante held on to a 1-0 victory. 

Scrambling across goal, Navas remarkably rebuffed Atletico Madrid's Real Betis loanee Leo Baptistao's sliding shot. 

Displaying razor-sharp reflexes, Navas denied close-range headers from Espanyol centre-back Hector Moreno and Granada centre-forward Youssef El-Arabi.

Quickly rearranging his position in response to a deflection, Navas thwarted Atleti defender Toby Alderweireld's firmly hit shot. 

Commitment is a trait inherent in Navas and evident when he clattered into his post after punching away the free-kick of Elche right-back Damian Suarez. 

His penalty-saving ability lends further credence to Navas' status as a world-class goalkeeper.

He came up big to stop then-Barcelona (now New York City FC) centre-forward David Villa, Real Betis centre-forward Jorge Molina and Greek centre-forward Theofanis Gekas from 12 yards out. 

RECIFE, BRAZIL - JUNE 29:  Theofanis Gekas of Greece has his penalty kick saved by Keylor Navas of Costa Rica during a shootout in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Costa Rica and Greece at Arena Pernambuco on June 29, 2014 in Recif
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

 

Navas Negatives

Mistakes precipitated Casillas' downfall and it could be the same scenario for Navas.

Buried beneath the profusion of acrobatic saves, Navas' tendency to make errors is a red flag. 

He crashed into Molina to give away a soft penalty to Betis—which he ended up saving. 

Navas inadvertently kneed Villarreal centre-forward Ikechukwu Uche, which led to a penalty and a red card. 

A hasty attempt at a clearance enabled Malaga attacking midfielder Francisco Portillo to score.

Navas was at fault when he parried the shot of Rayo Vallecano defensive midfielder Adrian into the path of Palermo's Rayo loanee Franco Vazquez.

 

 

Bottom Line

VALLADOLID, SPAIN - MAY 07: Goalkeeper Diego Lopez of Real Madrid CF streches on the bench prior to start the La Liga match between Real Valladolid CF and Real Madrid CF at Estadio Jose Zorilla on May 7, 2014 in Valladolid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroy
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

There are still unanswered questions over Lopez's future at Real, per Ramon Fuentes at Marca:

The Spanish 'keeper [Lopez] does not want to leave Real Madrid with the way things stand at the moment. ...

According to the initial agreement with the club, the keeper would receive around €7 million before tax (around €3.5 million net) on his departure. However, this may have changed and Real Madrid are now understood to only be willing to offer him a free transfer.

The second reason has to do with his destination. The player's preferred option was Monaco. He would have joined the French club as the first-choice 'keeper. However, the personal terms offered by Monaco did not convince either the player or his agent.

It would be Perez-esque extravagance if he brokered an agreement to keep Navas, Lopez and Casillas.

Real would have two world-class goalkeepers in Navas and Lopez, while Casillas is given a small window to mount a Rocky Balboa-like comeback. 

Navas may not carry a Galacticos-like fee at €10 million (a transfer steal), but he has the ability to transition into a Galacticos-standard goalkeeper, which will inflict additional hardship on Casillas. 

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScored 

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