Keylor Navas, always majestic in the Champions

P. Lodeiro

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Bayern Munich, despite the defeat (2-3) since they did not have Lewandowski, the omega of their system, exposed a whole exercise of superiority yesterday against PSG. Brave and very German, the Bavarians rushed relentlessly towards the French area while those of Pochettino wait crouched and with Neymar and Mbappé ready to escape. It was Keylor Navas the one who gave validity to the parisian plan, because the Costa Rican goal, with 10 stops (seven of them after shots inside the area), avoided defeat and led to the cons of his team with his saves. And it is not by chance, since Navas has become over the years a reference in a competition that understands everything except constancy.

Navas is surely the most outstanding goalkeeper of this edition of the European Cup. He competes with more avant-garde counterparts, such as Neuer, Ederson or Ter Stegen, but the goalkeeper of San Isidro de El General is the one who more has stopped, long, in the current season (43). His performance at the Allianz is joined by the one he starred in against Barcelona in the second round of the round of 16. PSG had a wide advantage after taking a 1-4 from the Camp Nou but, in Paris and with the Catalans with fire in their eyes, they stopped a penalty against Messi in the first half that, had it materialized, would have meant the 1- 2 and a comeback start. If PSG falters, the Central American is all resilience.

Almost by destination, the Champions awaited Navas. The goalkeeper signed for Real Madrid, king of the competition, in 2014 and after only having played in Europe in clubs with less pedigree such as Albacete and Levante. His arrival thickened the whites’ goal even more, as the team already had Casillas and Diego López in a demarcation that had become a rugged issue since Mourinho’s passage through the Madrid bench. That same year, it was López who found asylum at AC Milan and Casillas, a year later, at Porto after a childish departure. Navas acquired ownership in the Champions League (in 2015 it was still the Móstoles team who defended Madrid’s goal) and, in the following three years, the whites would only know total victory.

There were plenty, but surely the Madrid fans keep in their memory with special care the almost perfect performance of Navas on May 1, 2018. They received, of course, Bayern Munich in the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals (1- 2 on the go). On the wire, with 2-2 and with the Germans in full stampede, Keylor chained hopeless stops until the final whistle. Even the account of Bayern twitter ended up asking him during the game to stop beating them up with their stretched out. It was the goalkeeper’s 150th game with Real Madrid and, a few weeks later in Kiev, he would raise the ‘orejona’ again. The twilight of the Central American in the capital slightly tarnished his legacy. Courtois, an old Florentino longing, arrived at the club that same summer. Both, with the competitions distributed, fought for recognition and it was the Belgian who finally put down roots. Navas emigrated to Paris, a hornet’s nest of stars who, undoubtedly and with him under the stick, is one of the great candidates for the most desired cup.

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