PSG's Keylor Navas Says He Does Not Know Why He Had to Leave Real Madrid

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2019

Paris Saint-Germain's Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas gives the thumb up during the UEFA Champions League group A football match Real Madrid against Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on November 26, 2019. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP) (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)
GABRIEL BOUYS/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas has said he does not know why he had to leave Real Madrid last summer.

The Costa Rican stopper spent five seasons at Real after joining from Levante in August 2014.

He initially played second fiddle to Iker Casillas at the Santiago Bernabeu, but he was No. 1 goalkeeper for Real's three consecutive UEFA Champions League-winning seasons between 2015 and 2018.

Real were regularly linked with bringing in a new first-choice goalkeeper, most prominently David De Gea, and Navas, despite his success, was subsequently usurped by Thibaut Courtois last term after the Belgian's move to Madrid from Chelsea.

Then, in September, Navas moved to PSG as part of a swap deal that saw Alphonse Areola move the other way on a loan deal to back up Courtois.

Navas, 32, has now hinted it was not his decision to leave the Bernabeu, per El Chiringuito (h/t Goal's Robin Bairner):

"There are things that happened, and I don't know why they happened, but they did. I always try to keep the good memories. I have good memories with Zinedine Zidane, he defended me a lot of times, and I thank him for the confidence he had in me."

He also said it was strange returning to the Bernabeu for last month's 2-2 Champions League draw between Real and PSG, when Navas started for the French champions:

"The day before, during the walk of the pitch, I was about to turn left [to the Real Madrid players' area] but I had to think: 'Oh, no, it's the other side.' I appreciated that people would sing for me. I'll always be grateful to those fans. I made mistakes but they always supported me. I'll always remember celebrating the titles because when we went out one by one, the love they showed me was incredible."

Navas has played more this season at PSG than he likely would if he had stayed at Real.

He has established himself as the No. 1 under manager Thomas Tuchel, playing all but one of the Ligue 1 games he has been available for, and each of PSG's group-stage matches in the Champions League.

PSG's draw at Real ensured they will advance to the knockout rounds of Europe's elite competition as Group A winners.

Tuchel's job security is likely based on PSG advancing further in the Champions League this term than they have previously.

In the last seven seasons, despite the immense amount of money spent on their squad, the farthest PSG have gone is the quarter-finals, and they have exited at the last 16 in each of the last three campaigns.

Navas' experience of winning the Champions League three times could be invaluable to Tuchel and PSG when the knockout rounds arrive next year.   

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