Navas compares leaving Madrid to ‘dying’

Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas emphatically ruled out leaving the club as he said the signing of Thibaut Courtois has not affected his desire to remain at the Bernabeu. Navas has helped Madrid win three consecutive Champions League titles as well La Liga in 2017, but though his long-term future has often been in doubt, the Costa Rica No. 1 said he had no interest in a transfer.

“Tell everyone loud and clear, I have as much enthusiasm for leaving Madrid as I do for dying,” Navas said after Madrid’s victory over Roma in a friendly in New Jersey on Tuesday, the night before Madrid completed their move for Courtois.

Navas will now face an uphill battle to retain his starting spot over Courtois, who won the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper at the World Cup with Belgium.

Courtois joined Madrid from Chelsea on Wednesday for £35 million after declining to report for training and months of expressing a desire to live closer to his children. The newcomer insisted on Thursday he is not intimidated by the challenge of competing with Navas.

“When I arrived at Chelsea I had to replace [Petr] Cech and there was the same question,” Courtois said. “I’ve still got a good relationship with him today. We goalkeepers are a separate group within the squad and I’m going to do all I can to make sure we all get on well.”

Asked what he can offer Madrid that Navas cannot, Courtois said it is difficult to say.

“He’s a great keeper with excellent reflexes but it’s not for me to say what his strong points are,” Courtois said. “Nobody is guaranteed a starting spot and I have come here to work hard and it’s up to the coach to decide the rest.”