Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas is heading to Bayern Munich for a reported €10million fee as confirmed by Levante Vice-President Thomas Perez.
Navas became much sought-after following an impressive performance for Costa Rica during the 2014 World Cup. Los Ticos were eventually defeated by the Netherlands on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals.
“Going to one of the best teams in Europe will surely be enjoyable, as will giving (Manuel) Neuer plenty of competition [for the goalkeeper starting spot]” said Perez.
Navas first joined Costa Rica’s U-17 team and earned three caps before being promoted to the senior team in 2009 where he appeared in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and was named best goal keeper during the tournament. Navas’ fine play in the 2009 Gold Cup brought Costa Rica within a hair of qualifying for the finals.
Navas fine play in World Cup Qualifying helped Costa Rica clinch a World Cup berth with two qualifiers left to spare. In Brazil, he was named man of the match three times. He also finished the 2014 World Cup with three clean sheets in Costa Rica’s five games.
After making his professional debut with Costa Rican giants Saprissa in 2006, he made 60 appearances in five years before signing with Albacete in 2010. He made 36 appearances in the 2010-11 season. Navas was then loaned to Levante for the next two seasons. He made his debut for Les Granotes during a match against Athletic Bilbao where he earned a clean sheet and helped Levante advance to the UEFA Europa League for the first time in the club’s history. He eventually signed a contract to stay at Levante and played behind Gustavo Munúa for two seasons before being named the starter.
The possible move to Bayern has some in Costa Rica questioning Navas’ decision as he is likely to be back-up to Bayern’s current goal keeper and Germany number one, Manuel Neuer. Nonetheless, the opportunity to play for a club as large as Bayern is something few players from CONCACAF region have ever had the opportunity to do. This in itself could make the move worthwhile.