Arguably, Alessandro Florenzi might be a tad biased, but when it comes to determining who the world’s best goalkeeper is, the Italian international is emphatic about who’s No. 1. He’s certain that it’s his Paris Saint-Germain club mate and Costa Rican international Keylor Navas.
“Navas, the strongest of this team?,” Florenzi told France 2. “For me, he’s showing on the pitch that he’s the best of all right now. We hope he will continue like this throughout the season.”
Runner Up in the UEFA Champions League in 2020, Paris Saint-Germain have advanced to the quarterfinals of the competition this year. Fans of Navas and PSG can wager on the club’s Champions League futures at online betting sites such as Sports Interaction.
PSG advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champions League by sending five-time winners Barcelona packing in the Round of 16. Navas helped spark the victory with a first-half penalty save off of Argentinian legend and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi in their second leg match.
From the spot, Messi slotted a low shot to the right side of the net. Navas was able to parry it on to the bar with his legs and his defenders cleared the rebound to safety.
“It is always difficult, especially up against Messi who takes them very well,” Navas told The Independent.
Afterward, PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino echoed the sentiments of his player Florenzi.
“Navas? I can’t speak about the past of the keepers here, but Keylor is one of the best in the world,” Pochettino told PSG Talk. “He’s important and decisive for us.”
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman didn’t dispute this notion. “Their keeper was player of the match,” Koeman said.
“Navas Is The Messiah,” proclaimed the next day’s headline in the French newspaper L’Equipe.
Just for good measure, Navas made another penalty save in the same week. He stopped Yusuf Yazici’s 78th-minute penalty as PSG beat Lille 3-0 to advance to the French Cup quarterfinals.
In January, when PSG won the 2020 Trophée des Champions, the French Super Cup, it enabled Navas to become a record setter. That was his 16th European trophy, making Navas the CONCACAF player with the most European trophies. He surpassed former Barcelona and Mexican international defender Rafael Márquez.
Navas won three UEFA Champions League titles with his previous club Real Madrid. When Real Madrid won the 2015-16 Champions League crown on penalties over Atletico Madrid in an all-Spanish final, Navas became the first Costa Rican player to earn a Champions League title.
He posted clean sheets in his first eight UCL matches. Navas was named the top goalkeeper in the UCL in 2017-18.
“He’s done it more than once,” PSG midfielder Marco Verratti told Planet Football. “He won the Champions League three times with Real Madrid. He showed what a great keeper he is. We’re happy to have him in Paris.”
Navas has been named CONCACAF Player of the Year in both 2014, when he helped Costa Rica reach the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup and in 2017, when enabled Real Madrid to turn the double of La Liga and UCL titles.
Nava has played in four of the past five UCL finals and thinks PSG has what it takes to make it five out of six for him.
“We have to be united for this competition,” Navas said. “The squad has very clear aims in their head. This is what will help us to go far in this competition.”
An Underrated Sensation
It has always seemed that the football public hasn’t shared the same viewpoint toward Navas as the high opinion held of him among those inside the game.
“I won’t sit in the corner, crying, waiting for people to give me things: things do not just fall from the sky,” Navas told the Guardian. “Hard work is the basis of everything.”
He does admit that at times he has felt underappreciated by those who employed his services.
“In Spain, I felt like some people within the club didn’t believe in me,” Navas told PSG’s official website. “I will always be thankful to the fans for the support they gave me and also to the teammates, who always believed in me.
“Things are a bit different here in PSG, everybody believes in me and I try to respond to that support with confidence.”