Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas has thanked Blancos coach Zinedine Zidane for the confidence shown in him through a difficult 2017-18, as speculation in Spain continues that the Bernabeu outfit have ended their chase for Manchester United’s David De Gea.
Navas had a foot operation last summer and on his return made a number of high-profile mistakes through the autumn and winter.
He has also been whistled at the Bernabeu as recently as March, but he returned to form in the crucial part of the season and made impressive stops in the Champions League semifinals against Atletico Madrid and last weekend’s 4-1 final win over Juventus.
The Costa Rica international’s uncertain form led to rumours that Blancos president Florentino Perez was keen to finally seal a deal for Spain No. 1 De Gea, who almost joined Madrid two years ago in a deal that would have seen Navas moving to Old Trafford.
Speaking on international duty the Los Ticos captain said that support from Zidane and his teammates at the Bernabeu had been vital to getting over some difficult times.
“I began the season injured, then it was difficult to recover,” Navas said. “I wanted it to be easy, but it wasn’t like that. Now I feel much more strengthened on a footballing and spiritual level.
“I owe thanks to Zidane, and one way to repay him is to play as well as possible so that his decisions are backed up. Everyone likes that someone supports them when you are in a difficult moment, even more your teammates who are there day to day. Seeing that they never doubt you is something that motivates you.”
During the celebrations of Madrid’s back-to-back Champions League win in Cardiff, Zidane reportedly told Navas that “you are my goalkeeper,” with others in the dressing room apparently making it clear to Perez that they were happy with the current situation.
Marca have now claimed sources at the Bernabeu have confirmed to them that given Navas’ return to form, and United’s apparent €75 million valuation of De Gea, they have ended any interest in signing the ex-Atletico Madrid shot-stopper.
Navas has also revealed that he will not play for Costa Rica in July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States, as he will be elsewhere in the country ensuring he gets a proper preseason with his club.
“These are decisions taken by the coaching staff and the player,” he said. “I have had a very long year, many games, injuries, and we often need the space to recover for the next year, which will also be very difficult.”
There is, however, expected to a be a goalkeeping change at the Bernabeu this summer, with last season’s third choice Ruben Yanez, 23, moving on in search of first-team football elsewhere. That could see Luca Zidane, 19, promoted to the senior squad, despite some uncertain form in last season’s Europa Youth League campaign.
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