The Costa-Rican goalkeeper has revealed how the Madrid fans convey to him their affection, also discusses his ambitions for the FIFA World Cup.
Published By: Dalipinder Singh Sandhu (Bliss)
Keylor Navas recently had an interview with the Spanish news outlet MARCA, where he talked about his beloved club and the national team. He is now in Russia for the FIFA World Cup 2018 and is confident about playing in such a prestigious tournament.
“For me it is something incredible, a privilege. Since I was little I have lived soccer in Costa Rica with great intensity. I watched the World Cups when I was a kid and I was excited about the games. I saw them all, at any time they were. So, being here now, where I always dreamed, is something incredible. He looked back and it’s exciting. Playing another World Cup with my country is a dream come true.”
Keylor Navas is also the captain of his national team Costa Rica. He reveals the attitude and mentality with which he aims to aspire the team and take it as further as possible.
“Our mentality is to go step by step. The first objective is to pass the group stage, which will not be easy because we have very powerful teams such as Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia. It is very important to take this step for us and then go match by match leaving everything behind. We want to continue making history for our country and that means doing better than in the previous World Cup, we managed to reach the quarterfinals and fell on penalties against the Netherlands. Let’s try it, always playing with humility, but with a lot of passion and intensity.”
Keylor Navas is known for believing in possibilities. He had a film made on him with a similar title called ‘Man of Faith’. The Costa Rican has always said nothing is impossible in the darkest hours of Madrid when everyone else was losing hope. Keylor now carries the same temperament into the World Cup as he believes his side can lift the Golden trophy.
“Well, that nobody can ever say. One has to be realistic and it is true that there are teams that have more experience and more history in this type of competitions, but in football, nobody can say that something is impossible. With work, with faith, and with desire you can reach a final and then in 90 minutes who will tell us that we can not win. It is difficult to win the World Cup, it is true, but in my heart, there is nothing impossible.”
Keylor Navas is the national hero and the countrymen have a lot of expectations from him. So is the case in Real Madrid, the club renowned for its exorbitant demands from the players. Keylor reveals where he feels the most pressure while defending the goal of his country or his club.
“You always have pressure, because you always expect the best from you. They always expect me to do an impeccable job, without making a single mistake, because then I will be judged. Removing that, I always try to enjoy. For me to be in Real Madrid and play a game with that shirt is a reason to be happy. And playing for my country, where I was born, where I grew up and where my family is, it’s a joy and a feeling that makes me enjoy the court.”
The humble South American side will be facing the giants of the same confederation: Brazil. Though it will not be a match of an inferiority complex as per the brave captain of Costa Rica.
“No, I do not think so. In Costa Rica, there are already many players who have played important matches. Although we are a tiny country we have already been in World Cups, we have played great matches, we have very good teammates in the clubs where we play … Obviously, before each match, you always have the logical nerves, but when we see the stars of Brazil our legs will not shake. It is not like in the previous times.”
Every football fan has dreamt of representing their country in the biggest competition in the world and also to play for their dream club. Keylor Navas is one of the few fortunate ones who achieved both the dreams and reveals which was more difficult.
“In my heart, I always saw all possible things. I knew that if you try hard and God gives you health, you can achieve anything. So, every day I thank my family for instilling that mentality because today all those things that I wanted to see them as a reality. I have had the opportunity to play at Real Madrid, to play a World Cup … They are things that are very nice and that I have always seen as possible.”
The 31-year-old claimed the team he fancies to face in the Final of the World Cup. It is none other than his second home, Espana.
“I would love Spain, obviously. I have been in Spain for many years and I have great affection for the country. The fans of Real Madrid support the national team and that’s why it would be a very nice final for me … For us it would be perfect, we were not going to make mistakes [laughs].”
Keylor believes that many of the Real Madrid fans will be rooting for Costa Rica and would want him to get in the later stages of World Cup. He also revealed the kind message he has often received from the club fans on the streets of Madrid.
“Sure! The affection that Real Madrid’s fans always show me is something incredible and I am extremely grateful to all the fans. Regardless of the sports situation that I experience, they are always by my side and support me. In the stadium, I always have a shout of encouragement that motivates me and when I walk through the streets of Madrid, people always approach me and kindly transfer their affection. People tell me “do not go, we love you” and that always comforts a lot.”
The club which Keylor plays for experienced a surprising and unexpected turn of events as Real Madrid’s head coach, Zinedine Zidane resigned from his post after 5 days of winning the historic 3rd consecutive UEFA Champions League Title. Keylor revels his thoughts on the incident and says he was surprised to hear it.
“Yes, I was already in Costa Rica and it was a surprise, really …”
Keylor further talks about Zidane who always rooted for him even when there was harsh criticism from the fans and football pundits.
“Yes, I will always be grateful to Zidane. At all times he was with me, in good times we all enjoyed and in bad times we all joined together a lot. Zidane supported me at all times, gave me good advice and always received me with a smile. I think that all this is something that gives one confidence to get ahead and I think that now what we have left is to have those memories that we live with him.”
Keylor says that Zidane was not a person of secrets and lies, he always spoke honestly and created a friendly environment in the dressing room.
“He always gave me a vote of confidence, he always trusted me and that is a very important thing for a player. But I prefer that he was always a very transparent person, a coach who, regardless of what he has to say to a football player, does not go around with lies or doing things behind his back. He was always honest with the entire staff and turned this football team into a family.”
Keylor Navas wishes to continue his dream alliance with Real Madrid till the end of his career. He currently has a contract with the Spanish club and is willing to stay here for the remaining of his playing days.
“I am a Real Madrid player and I have a contract until 2020. I have always said that I am very happy at Real Madrid and hopefully, God willing, I can retire in this team. I am very happy in the club, in the city, with my teammates … So my head is in Real Madrid and I continue to enjoy this team. Now I’m focused on the World Cup and then again on Real Madrid. I will work to the maximum as always and I will train myself to earn a place in the team, always working one hundred percent and with the maximum respect for my teammates. My mentality does not change, I will continue working on the first day to play.”
Keylor also believes that having won the third consecutive UEFA Champions League title with his club just before the World Cup comes as a motivation and will be a key factor for his drive to achieve another historic success.
“Clear!!! Winning the third Champions followed is impressive and clear that makes it to the World Cup with more joy, so we have lived in Madrid is impressive. We have made history and now I want to do it with Costa Rica. Because I won the Champions League, but I have never won the World Cup [laughs].”
Keylor Navas is seen as an ambitious person with strong desires to which he affirmatively responds in a positive way.
“It’s what I said before. You have to always have a positive mentality and think that nothing is impossible. It is the best mentality to go far and for things to go well. And that positive mentality I see in the whole group of the selection.”
Costa Rica will face Serbia in their first game of the World Cup. Keylor believes it will be a decisive game for determining his side’s qualification into the round of 16.
“Well, in a World Cup all the matches are important, but it is true that the first two are decisive because they allow you to reach the third with life. The first with Serbia and you have to win it anyway. We will try. But our mentality is to go match by match. First Serbia, then Brazil and then Switzerland. We are working very well in training, very serious, making a group, to be able to win any team.”
In 2014, the Costa Rican side managed to get past the ‘group of death’ and the captain of the side believes the same can be replicated in 2018.
“Yes, we were in the group that is always called death. We were with Uruguay, Italy and England and we finished first in the group. We left Brazil in the quarterfinals, on penalties, without losing a single game in the entire World Cup. That mentality is what we have to show now in Russia, knowing that we are not inferior to anyone but that we must play with humility, aware of our possibilities.”
in the previous World Cup, Keylor Navas was declared the man of the match in 3 out of 5 games, but he doesn’t think about improving his tally for this time.
“I do not think about that, really. I change everything individually for collective success. I hope that I can help my team with good performances, it’s the only thing I think about.”
The Costa Rican star player believes the World Cup comes in the right time after he has played in the big matches with Real Madrid and has been in late found form this season.
“I have worked to the fullest throughout the season and I think I arrived at the World Cup in good condition. I keep training to the fullest to be at my best in every World Cup match. I hope that God gives me health to sign a good performance in Russia and help my team to get as far as possible.”
Keylor Navas will now get ready to face Serbia, Brazil, and Switzerland who play in the Group E. He will kick off his campaign on 17th June 2018 at 2:00 PM CET.
The FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia will be commenced on 14th June 2018 at 4:00 PM CET.