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The Costa Rican goalkeepers who could replace Keylor Navas

The 35-year-old said that this could be the last time he plays in the World Cup qualifiers with his national team and it is time for the younger generation to step up.

Estados Unidos
The Costa Rican goalkeepers who could replace Keylor Navas

Keylor Navas is arguably the best goalkeeper in the history of CONCACAF and prior to the final batch of the World Cup qualifiers in CONCACAF, he confirmed that this could be his ‘last dance.’ At 35-years-old, Navas has helped Costa Rica reach a top-four finish in the round-robin tournament and they need to beat the United States 6-0 to qualify directly to Qatar 2022.

This could be Navas’ ‘last dance’ at international level with Costa Rica and he aims to play in one more World Cup before retiring from the national team. If Los Ticos end up in fourth place after hosting the USMNT on Wednesday, they will play an intercontinental play-off game against New Zealand to secure their ticket for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, which means it would be the last international tournament for Navas.

Navas' honors with Costa Rica

It will of course be difficult to replace one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Navas was a key player for Costa Rica when they reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup, the furthest stage by any national team in CONCACAF. The Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper made his international debut in 2008 and has made over 100 appearances for Costa Rica since then.

Navas has played in two CONCACAF Gold Cups, in 2009 was voted the best goalkeeper of the tournament, and has featured in two World Cups (2014 and 2018). The PSG netminder has been named CONCACAF Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year for three consecutive years (2016-2018) and the best male CONCACAF Player of the Decade (2011-2020) by the IFFHS.

Who could replace Keylor Navas?

So it is very hard to replace Keylor Navas for Costa Rica and start from scratch. In the short term, the head coach of Los Ticos, Luis Fernando Suárez, could choose an experienced goalkeeper to replace Navas at the conclusion of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, if Costa Rica qualifies. The options for Suárez are:

Esteban Alvarado - 32-years-old from CS Herediano

Leonel Moreira - 31-years-old from LD Alajuelense

Aarón Cruz - 30-years-old from Deportivo Saprissa

Time for decision

Luis Fernando Suárez has to make a decision quite quickly as Los Ticos will have two major tournaments next year, the start of the CONCACAF Nations League and the Gold Cup in the summer. So prior to those events, Costa Rica will start 2023 playing exhibition games to make the decision on who will be the new goalkeeper and Suárez could give the opportunity to a young player too.

Abraham Madriz - 17-years-old from Deportivo Saprissa

Bayron Mora - 18-years-old from LD Alajuelense

José David Vega - 18-years-old from Municipal Grecia