Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas is “calm” about his future, despite repeat links to Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois.
Navas, 31, has been forced to deal with repeat links to the likes of Manchester United’s David De Gea since he joined from Levante in 2014.
Courtois is now the latest name in the frame to usurp him. The 26-year-old has declined to renew his deal at Stamford Bridge, amid reports the ex-Atletico Madrid loanee wants to be closer to his children in the Spanish capital.
However, Navas is not worried after speaking to new head coach Julen Lopetegui.
“I already spoke with him [Lopetegui],” Navas told La Nacion. “Everything is fine, everything is fine, no worries.
“I am calm. The truth is I have two years left on my contract, in which I have to spend my energies and my mind is thinking how to improve day by day with the effort that I have to show.
“I enjoy every moment, we must see what will happen in the future. Then I must not stop enjoying [life].
“I’m calm and I’m fine there [in Madrid]. I have always said, every year, that I can be there, because I will be very happy.
Gracias por tanto cariño!!🙌🏻🌏🌎🌍— Keylor Navas (@NavasKeylor) May 28, 2018
¡Infinitas gracias a todos los que siempre me apoyan desde todos los lugares del mundo, un abrazo enorme y que Dios los bendiga siempre!#Puravida 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/Qj2mK4psVS
“I’m happy, really grateful to God because there are very nice opportunities. I go with all the dreams of the world, like when I first moved there.
“I will work hard and strive every day to keep enjoying what it is to be in Madrid.”
Navas has played 141 matches for Madrid, winning 10 trophies.
Bayern Munich‘s Polish striker has long been linked with Los Blancos, however, talks have slowed in recent weeks.
Still, the 29-year-old’s representatives believe a deal can be brokered with the Whites before the transfer window slams shut on September 1.
It only means rumours will continue to grow that Lewandowski could indeed become a big coup for Madrid in the coming weeks.
While Bayern are happy to keep the former Borussia Dortmund star in the Bundesliga, the Bavarians are aware this could be their last opportunity to cash in on the forward for big money.
Ronaldo is unlikely to be directly replaced at the Bernabeu, with new coach Julen Lopetegui happy to work with a familiar face in Isco and play down talk of a pursuit for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.
But it’s not just the bigger names who will be hoping for a more prominent role under former Spain coach Lopetegui as their tour of the USA gets under way with a match against Manchester United on Tuesday (UAE: 04:05 +1).
A dream move to Los Blancos after scooping up Player of the Tournament for his sparkling performance at the European Under-21 Championship – the summer of 2017 was one to cherish for Dani Ceballos.
The following season, however, is best forgotten. With Zinedine Zidane resolutely sticking to the triumvirate of Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos with Mateo Kovacic in reserve, Ceballos mustered 12 La Liga appearances. Of those, just four were starts.
Real Betis boss Quique Setien has been putting on a charm offensive all summer long in an effort to tempt Ceballos back to the club. But the 21-year-old could not have wished for a better appointment in Lopetegui.
The former goalkeeper coached various age groups for Spain before taking the top job – with a two-year stint at Porto sandwiched in-between – and though he did not directly manage Ceballos, will have a stockpile of information on what he can do.
Golden Ball winner Modric, at 32, will need occasional relief after a draining World Cup and a 24-year-old Kovacic could leave the club before the summer is out has he pines for a regular role.
Ceballos’ style of play is best described as a hybrid of Modric and Kroos – a disciplined and creative midfielder who is also very effective at dribbling out of tight spaces. He should fit like a glove in a Lopetegui possession-based system.
To give up on such a talent after one season would be foolish and Lopetegui has extinguished talk of a departure. Watch this space.
Marco Asensio is another stand out from the Spain team that reached that Under-21 final but his star was already very much on the rise, having scored in the 4-1 Champions League final victory over Juventus last May.
Unlike Ceballos, there is no suggestion – apart from the most spurious of transfer rumours – that he is dissatisfied with his progress at Madrid but he too can be excited about the future under Lopetegui.
The 22-year-old’s versatility has both been a blessing and a curse, as he can fill a hole anywhere along the attacking line for Los Blancos but has not yet threaded together enough performances to fully convince that he is the definitive answer to a position.
His time will surely come now. Isco is clearly a huge part of Lopetegui’s plans and that should also be a help to Asensio.
Isco, undoubtedly Spain’s best player at an otherwise horrendous World Cup for the country, freely roamed under Lopetegui for La Roja whereas he habitually drifted to the left under Zidane at Real.
Asensio then, naturally left-footed, could be positioned to nail down a spot on that wing. A certain Mr Bale may stand in his way but there is an option to play the Welshman through the middle depending on Karim Benzema’s status under Lopetegui, or the right.
One thing’s for sure – without Ronaldo, a world of opportunity awaits Asensio.
Lucas Vazquez perhaps has the most concerns over where he will fit into Lopetegui’s plans from this three, but his body of work clearly impressed his new coach last season.
He was called up to Spain’s World Cup squad after featuring the most times of any player under Zidane in 2017/18, racking up eight goals and 12 assists.
The arrival of Alvaro Odriozola has muddied the waters somewhat. Though a right-back by trade, it’s unlikely that he will push first-choice Dani Carvajal out of the picture and he has history playing as a winger at Real Sociedad.
Even still, Vazquez, no longer just potential having turned 27, is the only true right-sided attacking option that Madrid possess and there has been no suggestion from Lopetegui that he’ll shoehorn the biggest names into the starting XI in an effort to make them fit.
Indeed, take reputations out of it and Vazquez was one of, if not Madrid’s best player for a long spell last term. It’ll be intriguing to see whether Lopetegui has a particular vision for him.