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Real Madrid have been dealt a major blow after No. 1 goalkeeper Keylor Navas picked up a thigh injury while on international duty with Costa Rica.
AS explained Navas suffered the problem during a 1-1 draw with Honduras in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on Sunday, and a Costa Rica statement outlined the issue as a strain to “the vastus medialis and part of the adductor in his right thigh.”
The 30-year-old now looks set to miss crucial upcoming matches at Getafe in La Liga on Saturday and at home to Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Champions League next Tuesday.
Navas has been one of Real’s most important players since the start of 2015-16, as they have won back-to-back UEFA Champions Leagues and a La Liga title.
He almost left the Santiago Bernabeu at the beginning of 2015-16 in part-exchange for Manchester United‘s David De Gea, but he remained after the deal for the Spain star collapsed on deadline day, per BBC Sport.
He then spent the subsequent campaign proving Real never had any need to sign De Gea, with the Costa Rican stopper starting 34 Spanish top-flight matches and 11 of Real’s 13 Champions League encounters, per WhoScored.com.
Per Javier Garcia on the club’s official website, it was Navas’ best season of his career as he conceded just 31 goals (0.69 goals per game) and kept 22 clean sheets in 45 appearances.
He was similarly excellent in 2016-17, especially in the crucial latter part of the campaign.
Kiko Casilla impressed when deputising in Navas’ absence early in 2016-17 and has proved himself an able competitor and back-up for the No. 1 spot.
As a result, Los Blancos manager Zinedine Zidane has quality cover to call upon, but he will be hoping Navas returns to action as soon as possible.