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Keylor Navas: “Not playing is sad, I don’t like being the backup”

The Costa Rica international has yet to play a game with Paris Saint-Germain this season and he is not happy about his new role.

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Franco ArlandGetty

Keylor Navas is considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world, but his role at Paris Saint-Germain has changed since Christophe Galtier took over the managerial role during the summer. The new head coach has gone for Gianluigi Donnarumma as his starting goalkeeper and the Costa Rica international is not happy with his new role as the backup.

The 35-year-old was aware that if he wanted to see some playing time before the start of the FIFA World Cup he needed to leave the Ligue 1 side, but he couldn’t reach a deal with any team during the summer transfer window because he was recovering from an injury. This forced him to stay at PSG and he has not played in any competition so far this season.

Keylor Navas speaks about not seeing minutes

The last time Navas played for club or country was on 14 June, when Costa Rica defeated New Zealand 1-0 to secure their spot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Since then, he has been recovering from an injury that kept him out of action and after reaching full fitness, he is expected to start against Iraq on Thursday in Costa Rica’s last pre-World Cup friendly before traveling to Qatar.

More than a physical change, mentally it is sad not to play when you are doing good in training and putting in the effort, you have a clear conscience. I am here [Costa Rica] where everyone believes in me and that is motivating,” said Navas during a press conference prior to facing Iraq.

“In the end I can’t hide the fact that I would’ve liked to see some playing time before the start of the World Cup, but now that I am here it is extra motivation for me. Obviously I don’t like being a backup, but I have to keep working because life puts you in situations like this sometimes. So you only have two options, work harder or give up.

“The opportunities will come, I will see the light at the end of the tunnel, I am calm and I want to integrate myself into this group. I am good and everyone who got called up is privileged. We will fight until the end and every World Cup is different. We have to enjoy it and we will give everything we got and hopefully we can fulfill our dreams.”

This will be Costa Rica’s fifth World Cup appearance and in 2014 they achieved their best performance by finishing in first place in their group and reaching the quarter-finals. This year they are in Group E alongside Spain, Japan and Germany. They will make their debut against La Roja on 23 November and they want to advance to the round of 16 after they ended their campaign in fourth place in the group stage four years ago.