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REAL MADRID

Courtois to stay, as Navas looks likely to leave Bernabéu

Courtois to stay, as Navas looks likely to leave Bernabéu

PEPE ANDRES

Real Madrid have told Thibaut Courtois that he is their first-choice keeper for next season, which could finally prompt Keylor Navas to look for the exit door.

Thibaut Courtois will remain at Real Madrid. AS has learned that the club have told the Belgian keeper that he will be their first-choice keeper next season.

Since the return of Zinedine Zidane, Madrid’s longer-serving keeper Keylor Navas has enjoyed more prominence in the team after having been left out in the cold by former coach Santiago Solari.

But despite the fact that Navas’ role has grown under Zidane, Courtois is still top of the pecking order from the point of view of the club, who have made sure to communicate that fact to the 26-year-old.

There is some concern at the club regarding Courtois’ performance level this season, but the Belgian keeper is still regarded as Los Blancos' number one man between posts for next season and beyond.

Madrid expected more from him this season but they trust that the player will respond to their endorsement by recapturing the form he showed at the World Cup in Russia last summer that earned him the tournament’s Golden Glove award.

Courtois returns to action

Courtois made his first start for Zidane at Rayo Vallecano last Sunday.

For his first game back in charge against Celta Vigo in mid-March, Zidane opted for Navas ahead of Courtois in his starting XI, after which the Belgian keeper was side-lined for five games with a hamstring injury.

After sitting on the bench upon his return against Getafe on 25 April, the Belgian keeper finally made his first start under the French coach at Rayo Vallecano last Sunday. And while Madrid lost the 1-0, Courtois had a decent game, making a great one-on-one stop to deny Rayo’s José Ángel Pozo.

This vote of confidence in Courtois will come as a blow to Navas. After it initially appeared he would have an opportunity to regain prominence with the return of Zidane, his future now seems very much up in the air.

If the Costa Rican keeper leaves Madrid his most likely destination will be the Premier League, where his representatives had already gone to sound out opportunities back in December. Navas has already made it clear that he will not play second fiddle at the Bernabéu, and as such, will likely look for the exit door this summer.