For the first time this season, Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas has spoken up about his lack of playing time since his arrival from Levante last summer.
Real Madrid triggered the Costa Rica international’s buyout clause and signed the 28-year-old to a six-year contract in August 2014.
Navas was named the LFP’s ‘Best Goalkeeper’ during the 2013-14 La Liga campaign, and many expected him to eventually supplant veteran shot stopper Iker Casillas as the club’s number one.
But Navas has remained the second-choice goalkeeper, and with the ongoing speculation regarding David de Gea’s arrival from Manchester United, the Costa Rican could once again find himself on Madrid’s bench next season.
Speaking after his side’s 4-1 victory over Espanyol, Navas finally voiced his opinion regarding the goalkeeping pecking order at Madrid.
“If I don’t play, I can’t prove my worth,” Navas said.
“Just because I don’t complain to the press doesn’t mean that I’m not struggling.
“I wanted to play more [this season]. I never thought about being a backup.
“It’s true that I’ve had a difficult year, but I’ve always tried to do my best and be professional.
“When I played, I tried to do my best. My attitude and desire have helped me cope.
“I hope next year will be different and that I earn a starting role. I have a contract for five years and have a positive mindset.
“It’s difficult, but I won’t give up. I hope the opportunity arises at some point. Competition is good because it helps me improve.”
Navas has kept five clean sheets in ten appearances for Real Madrid this season.
The 28-year-old would face another difficult challenge next season with Iker Casillas committed to finishing out his contract with the club (his deal expires in June 2016) and the potential arrival of David de Gea from Manchester United.
Casillas has admitted he would accept a lesser role at Madrid. However, Navas would still have to battle De Gea for the club’s number one spot.