Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas hailed the ‘footballing philosophy’ of manager Zinedine Zidane, claiming that the France legend’s clarity of thought was vital in the club’s Champions League triumph last season.
Zidane took over when Rafa Benitez was let go at the turn of the year, and has set about the imposing task of toppling Barcelona in his first full season at the helm of Los Blancos with aplomb.
Speaking in the buildup to the new season, Navas said: “He has a clear footballing philosophy that we understand well and this helped us win the Champions League as we learned very quickly just what the coach wanted from us.”
Navas’ brilliant work between the sticks was hugely important for the club’s European triumph, conceding just two goals in 10 games as Real beat Atletico on penalties to claim the Undecima.
He said: “I try to remember everything, before reaching the final I set myself a goal to enjoy the ride and live in the moments. There were many unique moments of happiness but being champions was the icing on the cake.”
The 29-year-old was also asked about his own impact on football in his home country of Costa Rica – far from a traditional footballing powerhouse, despite their impressive performance as scrappy underdogs at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
He said: “It is a privilege to be thought of in such a way, I always try to do my best and I try to be a good example for all the kids. I admire them and have a big commitment to them. I hope that in the future they can become great professionals.”
Navas went 338 minutes unbeaten in goal during Real’s Champions League campaign and the accolade remains firmly placed in the goalkeeper’s mind. “Without the help of your team-mates, you cannot do anything,” Navas concluded.