With the imminent acquisition of Keylor Navas from Levante, head coach Carlo Ancelotti faces a serious selection dilemma as to who will be his No.1 heading into the 2014-15 campaign.
The successful trainer opted for Diego Lopez as his man between the sticks in La Liga last term, with Iker Casillas defending the Real Madrid goal in the Champions League. Ancelotti will have even more options in the upcoming season, however, following the arrival of Navas.
The Costa Rica star impressed with Levante last term before his reputation as one of the finest goalkeepers in the game got another boost at the World Cup as he guided his team to a surprising quarter-final berth.
However, Casillas played a key role in his side’s Champions League win in 2013-14, irrespective of his unimpressive performance in the final against Atletico, while Lopez did not let his coach down in the Primera Division.
Goal takes a look at Ancelotti’s options for the upcoming season.
The 33-year-old has made close to 500 La Liga appearances for Real Madrid, but has lost his starting berth to Lopez in the past 18 months, first under Jose Mourinho and then under Ancelotti. Casillas remains a hugely popular figure at the Santiago Bernabeu, but there’s no denying that he’s no longer at the level that saw him become one of the best goalkeepers in the world. The Spain international has made it clear more than once that he’s keen to stay at Madrid, however, in order to fight for his place.
Lopez displaced Casillas as Madrid’s No.1 halfway through the 2012-13 campaign after joining the club from Sevilla and has not looked back ever since. The 32-year-old was Ancelotti’s first choice in La Liga as they finished third in the table last term and some even argued that he should have gone to the World Cup with Spain rather than Casillas. Despite the stiff completion for places, Lopez will fancy his chances of getting the nod again heading into the new season.
Navas was still a relative unknown at the start of last season, but his superb performances for both club and country last season have made him one of the most sought-after shot stoppers in the game. The 27-year-old was the undisputed star of the Costa Rica side that made it to the quarter-finals at the World Cup against all odds and he could very well win over Ancelotti if he continues to perform at that high level.