Costa Rica international goalkeeper Keylor Navas (pictured) could start for Real Madrid against Barcelona on November 21, 2015. (Photo: Mexsport)
MADRID – It appears that goalkeeper Keylor Navas’ return from injury is imminent as Real Madrid announced that he has been included in the squad to face visiting Barcelona in the La Liga “El Clasico” on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Costa Rica international has been out of action with a groin injury since helping the Merengues to a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in a UEFA Champions League match on November 3.
“The team comes into it in good shape,” Real Madrid head coach Rafael Benitez said Friday. “They're excited and looking forward to it. We're aware of the importance of any game against Barcelona and of getting all three points.”
Navas has been critical to Madrid’s success this season. The 32-time Spanish champion is undefeated (6W-3D-0L) in the nine domestic league matches in which he has played, conceding only three goals. Its only loss came on November 8 at Sevilla, 3-2, a game that the former Saprissa custodian sat out.
“Keylor is getting over his fitness issues,” commented Benitez. “He's in good shape and, in principle, I'm optimistic.”
Due to the lingering injury, Navas was also forced to miss the opening two matches of Costa Rica’s qualifying campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, wins over Haiti (1-0) and Panama (2-1). He was ably replaced for those encounters by Alajuelense goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton.