Real Madrid goalie Keylor Navas seemed unaffected by the failure of his proposed move to Manchester United on deadline day as he secured his third consecutive clean sheet in a 6-0 victory over Espanyol, his first game since the transfer's collapse. In doing this the Costa Rica custodian became the first Real keeper to start a season with three consecutive clean sheets since 1975, and only the second in the club's history to manage this feat.
Despite this, the Spanish giants appear to have little faith in the Costa Rican, trying to replace him with David de Gea on transfer deadline day despite fans at the Santiago Bernabeu taking Navas to their hearts. Both clubs agreed terms but failed to send paperwork to La Liga headquarters on time, meaning that Navas has been forced to stay in Spain and fight with summer signing Kiko Casilla for the #1 jersey this season.
And Navas looks ready to prove those who thought he was not good enough to play between the sticks for the La Liga outfit wrong. The former Levante keeper is already part of Real history, securing clean sheets in the first three games of the league season.
This achievement is particularly impressive as the only other player to manage the feat was Miguel Angel, almost four decades ago – not even club legend Iker Casillas was up to the task. Navas held Gerard Moreno, Salva Sevilla and Felipe Caicedo at bay against Espanyol, as he previously did to the strikers of Sporting Gijon and Betis – even saving a penalty from Ruben Castro when playing the Andalusian outfit.
Speaking after the game, Navas said he is ready to put the transfer speculation behind him and play his best for Real Madrid. "I played with calm and confidence. I'm eager to work hard. We did a great job. The team will come out of this in a very positive situation and that will give us confidence."
Before the game Rafa Benitez played down suggestions that Navas was unwanted at the club, saying he was delighted to have him at his disposal instead of De Gea. "De Gea belongs to Manchester United and I am satisfied to have Keylor, Kiko and Ruben. Keylor already know this because I have spoken with him," he said, as quoted by AS. "Navas knows the trust that I have in him and he is calm and confident. That day [when the deal collapsed] I had dinner with him, his wife and his agent. Yesterday he trained sensationally. He made three or four great saves. So he is not affected. He is delighted [to be here] and me too. I always say the truth."