The home keeper at full stretch between the sticks in the Ciutàt de Valencia has become one of the most emblematic images of this Liga BBVA campaign. Keylor Navas (Costa Rica, 1986) knew he would be a goalkeeper at five years of age after seeing Lester Morgan play for his country. Delighted about going to this summer’s FIFA World Cup, Navas gives an exclusive interview to LFP.es in which he talks about training, confidence and one of the keys behind the fantastic season he is enjoying: Lluis Llopis.
LFP.es: It’s difficult to calculate how many points Keylor Navas has earned Levante. Are you conscience of that?
Keylor Navas: I feel very happy. I try to help my teammates in every game so things go as smoothly as possible. I try to prevent the opposition from scoring so we can win games because that will help us move closer to our objective, which is to stay up.
LFP.es: What has changed for you with respect to last season?
K. Navas: I feel like the same person, but this season I’ve been given an encouraging slap on the back that has given me the confidence to go out and enjoy myself. Playing consistently in every match helps you to improve and bit-by-bit you begin to play to your full potential.
"I try to be a leader on the pitch "
LFP.es: There is a man who has helped with this improvement: Lluis Llopis. Tell us about him.
K. Navas: As well as being a great goalkeeping coach, Llopis is a great person. He really gets to know us and because of that the work we have done has been focused on making us better and giving us more confidence.
LFP.es: The main philosophy behind Llopis’ method is "including the goalkeeper in the team’s play".
K. Navas: When I arrived at the club he told the keepers that we had to be important members of the team and help out as much as possible in every match. Psychologically it’s great having him because he talks to us all the time. He complements the work we do on the pitch with what we do away from it, and that helps us become more rounded goalkeepers and gives us all the confidence in the world.
LFP.es: As well as saving the ball, what else do you bring to the team’s play?
K. Navas: On the pitch I try to help my teammates, be a leader, direct the back line and constantly talk to the defenders in order to protect my goal and prevent the opposition side from creating any danger.
LFP.es: Those who know you say you’re a goalkeeper with loads of personality. What other qualities have you got?
K. Navas: I feel very at ease on the pitch and that allows me to make good decisions, keep a clear head and stay focused. I’m also a quick goalkeeper and try to make the most of my speed at certain moments. I think the most important thing is wanting to learn and improve, and the best way to do that is by working at it.
"I try to enjoy every moment and every aspect of the game"
LFP.es: One thing for sure is that the great campaign you are enjoying has not gone unnoticed by other teams. Could there be a possible move next season?
K. Navas: I’m happy living in the present. I’m not thinking about the future because I want to enjoy the now. As a football player you always want to play for the biggest teams, but for the moment I’m with Levante. I have to give it my all everyday and act like a professional, which I have been doing up until now. I want to enjoy the present and then we’ll see what happens in the future.
LFP.es: And what better way to end the season than by going to the FIFA World Cup.
K. Navas: Going to the World Cup was a dream for all of us. Everyone on the national team knew that we needed to work hard at our respective clubs in order to be at our best and use our experiences to help make the side stronger.