Following a spectacular World Cup performance, Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas is being rewarded with a contract from one of the top clubs in Europe. Real Madrid’s official Web site confirmed the long-awaited hiring of the 27-year-old Navas on Sunday, as he signed a six-year contract. Although no dollar figures have been released on the deal, his transfer fee from Levante was reported by Spanish press to be upwards of 10 million euros, or $13.4 million.
After spending time with family in his hometown of Pérez Zeledón, Navas is now headed to Madrid where he will be presented to fans and media in Madrid at the famed Santiago Bernabéu stadium Tuesday.
“He is quick, has great reflexes, always positions himself well and is one of the best in one-to-ones,” read the club’s press release. “Keylor Navas has everything it takes to be an exceptional keeper.”
Arguably the best goalkeeper of the 2014 World Cup, Navas led Costa Rica to the quarterfinals for the first time in its history. And in terms of history, local pundits and sports media are calling Navas’ transfer to Real Madrid as the most important ever for a Costa Rican-born player.
The reigning champions of the European Champions League have figured to be in the market for a goalkeeper with the sudden fall of current starting goalie Iker Casillas, whose struggles from last season carried over into the World Cup for Spain where La Roja and Casillas were humiliated by Holland in a 5-1 blowout.
For comparison’s sakes, Navas and Costa Rica held the Dutch scoreless before bowing out in penalty kicks. Throughout the tournament, Navas only allowed two goals in 510 minutes of play, making him the least scored upon keeper in the cup. Even more impressively, those two goals came on a penalty kick against Uruguay and with a man down when facing Greece.
Navas also has experience in Spain’s La Liga after having played three seasons for Levante and was named the league’s top goalie last season. He made more saves than any other goalie in the league with 160, according to Real Madrid’s release statement.
Previously, he donned the red and white of Sarprissa from 2005 to 2010, where he won six Costa Rican national championships.
With a value of $3.44 billion, Real Madrid is the most valuable soccer team on the planet, according to Forbes.