Keylor Navas is a goalkeeper with three Champions in his showcases. Plus a lost final with PSG against Bayern a few months ago. Keylor is one of those goalkeepers who, as he is not 1.90 tall, are considered small, agile, dynamic. It is often said that he is a goal-line goalkeeper, one-on-one, miraculous saves, brilliant actions that are not allowed to the highest but, there is always a “but”. That he does not dominate the aerial game, that he does not have a great presence in the area, as if having almost two meters gave, de facto, the dominance of the airs. And as if we did not see every week very tall goalkeepers who live on the goal line, in the shadow of the crossbar. In addition, Keylor is tormented by the fact that his footwork is not exceptional and he does not have an exact hit 70 meters from the goal. When he arrived in Paris it seemed that he was the substitute’s substitute, forgetting his career, his titles, his quality under the sticks. Now you know that he is a reliable goalkeeper, difficult to beat and a guy with personality.
In addition, Keylor has always been a goalkeeper of magical, decisive, unique moments. That penalty stopped Messi on the border of rest in the return match in Paris, after 45 minutes of total Barça dominance, destroyed the hopes of the Catalans to think of a new comeback. He did the same against Bayern, in Germany and in Paris while the names of Neymar and Mbappé resounded around the world. A goalkeeper who knows that this excellent work, almost always, serves as the basis for the appearance of a forward, for the ascent to the skies of the scorer.
And look where, this Wednesday, in a closed center of De Bruyne, he hesitated a tenth of a second, it seemed to him that that ball was going to be deflected by a striker or by his own defense, he held on the line and the ball, quickly after the boat on the magnificent lawn of the Park of the Princes, he went inside the net. Tying goal and the City that managed to balance the game.
And suddenly, all eyes have turned to him, all comments have turned into sharp, harsh criticism.
From the miracle to the purest humanity, going from God to being a nobody by a ball bounce. That thin red line. The one that Courtois, his successor at Real Madrid, described so well when he talked to Giroud at half-time and told him that all he had done was put his right foot between the ball and the net to avoid Timo Werner’s sung goal. To Giroud it had seemed a miracle, to Thibaut a simple action.
Well let’s see. In these conversations there is always a psychological component and, as a goalkeeper, you always have to give the feeling that the action was controlled, that nothing exceptional has happened, that you are capable of doing much, much better.
And now they will have another 90 minutes left to show that neither mistakes have been parked in Keylor’s mind nor sufficiency is what defines Courtois. Ninety minutes in the most demanding football and in which the smallest details, the smallest details, make the difference.
I would not give Keylor or his PSG eliminated because if football has something, it is the possibility of revenge. I would not say that Chelsea is going to overwhelm Real Madrid more than in the first part of Valdebebas. And the whites came out alive.
We have 90 minutes or more left in each tie for enjoyment and suffering. Pure football. Pure Life.