If there is one thing that Keylor Navas has shown in his four seasons at Real Madrid, it is that he has very broad shoulders and does not give up easily. He proved as much in taking on the huge challenge of stepping into Iker Casillas’ shoes and did so again when he was on the point of being transferred in 2016. And when he came in for criticism at the start of this year, the Costa Rican shot-stopper showed once more what he was made of.
“Nobody likes it when people say bad things about you, because we’re all human beings and we have feelings. Ultimately, though, I always try to make sure that my happiness doesn’t depend on what people say but on what I feel in my heart,” explained Navas in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com.
Rather than let his head drop in times of adversity, the keeper tries to stay positive: “When I’m having a tough patch I always try to focus on good things.” Focusing in on his work, he believes if you put the effort in, then the rewards will come your way.
That is certainly true for him in 2017, a year that has been one of the best of his career: “It’s been a really great 12 months for me. I’m always going to remember it.”
Keylor Navas’ 2017 so far
· Spanish league champion
· UEFA Champions League winner for the second year running
· Spanish Super Cup winner
· UEFA Super Cup winner
· Shortlisted for The Best FIFA Goalkeeper award
· Helped Costa Rica qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™
As good as 2017 has been for the keeper, his club have not started the new season in the best fashion. Currently fourth in La Liga, they lie eight points adrift of leaders Barcelona. The Tico stalwart sees no reason to look on the negative side, however.
“Every side goes through a tough patch at some stage or other of the season and ours has come at the start,” he explained. “The talent, commitment and confidence that we have both in the coaching staff and in the team as a whole will help us to keep looking forward and push for silverware.”
The next title the Spanish giants have their sights on is the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017, a tournament in which they play their first game on 13 December.
Navas on the Club World Cup
Should Madrid do so, they will become the first team to retain the Club World Cup, a title they hold courtesy of a hard-fought extra-time win over Japan’s Kashima Antlers in the 2016 final.
Never say die
“There are a lot of matches that can really go against you or where things don’t work out the way you expected them to. We never lose our confidence or faith though. We always believe in each other. We didn’t know that we’d end up beating Kashima, but we did absolutely believe that every one of us was going to give their all to make that happen.”
The lessons of 2016
“People think that the Club World Cup is an easy competition, but it’s not. There are teams from leagues that might not be as strong, but that doesn’t mean to say they don’t play well or that they can’t make life difficult for us. We’re very much aware of that and we know it’s not easy. That’s why take every game as seriously as we can.”