Rico’s TICO BULL – No, the photo is not of some criminal being escorted by plainclothes police through the hallways of the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose. And no, the shades are not to hide the shame from the cameras.

Keylor Navas with Fabricio Chaves, security director of the Costa Rican Football Federation, on Sunday. Photoy: Jorge Luis Rendón Gallego

No, nothing like that. And if you look closely, you will see it is none other than Keylor Navas.

The arrival of Keylor to Costa Rica is always a big thing. So big that airport security has had to establish a protocol to follow whenever he steps into Ticolandia, to avoid disruption to the normal flow of airport operations.

In fact, the protocol is activated even before the ‘cuidapalos’ (netminder) arrives, his plane touches ground, when those in charge of protecting the soccer player from a ‘merengue’ inside and outside of the terminal, spring into action.

That was the case on Sunday, when the Iberia flight from Madrid touched down, as is usual every afternoon, at the SJO airport. Actually, yesterday’s flight was about 35 minutes late.  But for nothing related to Navas.

Just like the protocol given to diplomats, Navas was to be ushered out of the terminal through the special door, some 50 meters from the main terminal arrivals door that all of earthly souls use.

No, this was Keylor, the darling of Costa Rican soccer.

At 4:45 pm, with shades, black jacket, white t-shirt, black cap and black ‘tenis’ (sports shoes), he was to be whisked out the ‘special’ door and into the waiting car of Fabricio Chaves, director of the Federación Costarricense de Fútbol (Fedefútbol) security.

But wait, there is a bag.

This little item, which apparently those in charge of the protocol never considered, put a wrench into an otherwise perfect plane to getting Keylor out the door and away from the crowds.

You see, everyone, I mean, everyone has to pass their own bags through the customs x-ray machine.

Diplomats, with the respective passport, can delegate the bag function to an aide. The diplomat exits the special door, the bags follow through the normal chain of events and eventually come out the main door.

Keylor, though he can be considered a diplomat, doesn’t the right paperwork.

At 5:05 pm, his security was able to rush him through the side exit (next to the main exit) with most noticing.

Navas, whose day job is playing goalkeeper for Real Madrid, is in town for the La Seleccion (national team) games with Guatemala and Jamaica on March 22 and 26, respectively.

Also arriving yesterday, but with no security protocol or fanfare were Navas’ teammates Celso Gamboa, Giancarlo González, Francisco Calvo and Waylon Francis.


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