Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez says he is "delighted" to have kept Keylor Navas in his ranks during the summer transfer window despite his club trying to replace the Costa Rica international with Manchester United's David De Gea. The former Liverpool boss, meanwhile, has claimed he never "feared" losing Sergio Ramos to Old Trafford even though the centre-back was heavily linked with a move to the Premier League giants.
The Spanish team agreed a double deal with the Red Devils on Spanish transfer deadline day that would have taken De Gea to the Santiago Bernabeu, with Navas moving in the opposite direction. However, both deals collapsed as the paperwork did not arrive at La Liga headquarters on time.
Benitez has tried to play down the importance of the agreement for his plans at Los Blancos. Nevertheless, it is understand that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and not Benitez was the one who earmarked the signing of De Gea as a top priority to replace legend Iker Casillas.
Asked during an interview with Cadena Ser whether he really wanted the United star to be his number one instead of Navas, Benitez replied: "I was delighted with Keylo Navas. I was having dinner with Keylor that night [on deadline day]. He is a professional and I was delighted with him. Everything is perfect. Before I had a good professional relationship with him and after that I also have a personal one..."
"I was delighted to have Keylor before [the transfer saga] and I am delighted to have him now," he insisted. I didn't have to convince him about anything. I just gave him my professional opinion. He knows I supported him since the beginning to the end."
Navas has responded with an impressive start to the campaign, conceding just one goal in seven La Liga games while saving two penalties. Benitez says he was never worried about the goalkeeping transfer saga, because he knew that whether with the Costa Rica international or De Gea the position would have been well covered.
"I have an advantage being older as one of my assistants, Antonio Gomez, knows him from his time at Albacete and spoke very well of him. We had reports from him and monitored his progress after he moved from Albacete to Levante. I was relaxed about that knowing that whatever happened I'd have a great goalkeeper and was happy with Keylor."
Ramos, meanwhile, was also linked with a move to Old Trafford after stories emerged in June that he had decided to put an end to his career at the La Liga giants after he fell out with the president. United boss Louis van Gaal then appeared to be open to the possibility of his signing after saying: "Maybe Mr Ramos is in the process, you never know."
But Ramos instead committed to Los Blancos with a new deal with some suggesting he just used United to get a pay rise at his club. Asked whether he thought the captain was going to move to the Premier League giants, Benitez said: "I never feared he'd move to Manchester.
"I saw things developing at close quarters and told him that he was a fundamental player for the team. Time is vindicating that. That's why I wanted him to stay".