MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says he cannot imagine his team parting ways with triple Champions League winning goalkeeper Keylor Navas, even as reports gather pace that the Costa Rican has asked to leave the Spanish club.
Navas has been at Madrid since 2014 and was their number one during their unprecedented hat-trick of Champions League titles between 2016 and 2018 but has lost his place in the team since Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois joined last year.
The Costa Rican was left on the bench in Madrid’s 3-1 La Liga win at Celta Vigo last week and Spanish newspaper Marca said that Navas has told Madrid of his desire to leave, with other reports linking him with Paris St Germain.
But Zidane said he does not want Navas to go anywhere.
“I do not envisage this squad without him, he’s always been a vital player to us and will continue to be, I can’t contemplate him leaving,” Zidane told a news conference ahead of Madrid’s La Liga game at home to Real Valladolid on Saturday.
“He hasn’t told me he wants to leave, he is here and he wants to play, he’s always been a professional. We’ll have a lot of games this season and we’re going to count on him.”
Real have already sent two goalkeepers out on loan this year, with Zidane’s son Luca joining Racing Santander and Andriy Lunin going to Saturday’s opponents Valladolid, and the coach said he had no desire to go looking for another.
“I’m not looking at who could come in because Keylor is here and he will be important for us. I’m looking forward to Keylor staying with us,” he added.
Madrid will be without Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric due to suspension after the Croatian was shown a straight red card against Celta while forwards Eden Hazard, Brahim Diaz, Marco Asensio and Rodrygo are all still injured.
Real’s problems in attack could see James Rodriguez make his first appearance for Madrid since leaving for a loan move to Bayern Munich over two years ago although Zidane would not reveal whether the Colombian would feature.
“We’ll see if he starts tomorrow, he is the same player as he was before he left and he has enormous ability,” the coach said.
“We count on him just like everybody else but we’ll see how we fit everyone in because we have a lot of games.”
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge)