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Zinedine Zidane 'Can't Contemplate' Keylor Navas Leaving Real Madrid This Summer

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 23, 2019

MALAGA, SPAIN - MAY 21:  Zinedine Zidane, Manager of Real Madrid celebrates with Keylor Navas of Real Madrid following the La Liga match between Malaga and Real Madrid at La Rosaleda Stadium on May 21, 2017 in Malaga, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has ruled out any chance of a summer exit for goalkeeper Keylor Navas and said he "can't contemplate" his reserve stopper leaving the club. 

Thibaut Courtois looks set to head into the 2019-20 season as Zidane's first-choice goalkeeper, leading to speculation Navas will seek starting opportunities elsewhere.

However, Real's manager spoke to reporters on Friday and dismissed the notion of Navas leaving the Santiago Bernabeu, despite having entered the last year of his contract:

“I do not envisage this squad without him, he's always been a vital player to us and will continue to be, I can't contemplate him leaving. He hasn't told me he wants to leave, he is here and he wants to play, he's always been a professional. We'll have a lot of games this season and we're going to count on him.”

Jose Felix Diaz of Marca recently wrote Navas, 32, has informed Real of his desire to leave, seemingly not content with another season playing second fiddle to Courtois, 27. Paris Saint-Germain are said to be one suitor interested in signing him.

The Costa Rica No. 1 joined Real from Levante in 2014 and rose to prominence as the club won three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles under Zidane between 2016 and 2018.

However, he played just 21 times in all competitions last season. Football writer Kristan Heneage suggested signing Courtois from Chelsea in August 2018 wasn't money wisely spent by Real:

Kristan Heneage @KHeneage

Keylor Navas asks to leave Real Madrid. I can't blame him, the signing of Thibaut Courtois never felt like an upgrade to me. https://t.co/ZkegiEjkCi

September 2 is the transfer deadline for most of Europe's top leagues, and Navas has a slim chance of getting the departure he seeks before then.

Los Blancos have already loaned Ukrainian goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, 20, to Real Valladolid, while Zidane's 21-year-old son, Luca, will spend the 2019-20 season at Racing Santander.

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague recently appeared on BBC 5 Live Sport, where he painted a picture of Navas potentially playing a role in the deal that sees Neymar leave PSG for Madrid:

BBC 5 Live Sport @5liveSport

Navas + James + Jovic = Neymar ⚽️ @GuillemBalague tells @Steve_Crossman that Real Madrid could offer PSG a three-man swap to secure Neymar. Would that include money too? 💵💰🤑 The latest Euro Leagues podcast 👇 https://t.co/h51QrkuhkZ https://t.co/nSNfE9noEi

It's a growing trend for clubs to house two keepers of similarly high quality, though there's an understanding in football that one figure tends to dominate the starting spot.

Given his age, it's understandable Navas doesn't want to return to the bench. That's particularly the case given he's still considered by many to be one of the world's best goalkeepers, per The Spanish Football Podcast during pre-season:

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

Some Real Madrid thoughts (yes it’s just a friendly): - Navas is better than Courtois - Casemiro is RM’s most important player. And he has no substitute. - Madrid’s summer renovation hasn’t reached the defence. Or midfield. - Let’s just say Hazard doesn’t look his sharpest...

Navas could leave the club for free next summer should he remain and fail to agree an extension, though it seems Zidane is willing to run that risk in order to secure his talents for this term.