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La Sele

Keylor Navas will not join Costa Rica's 'La Sele' for upcoming friendlies

After a chaotic day where Real Madrid’s management tried and failed to trade Keylor Navas, Costa Rica’s star goalkeeper is going to need some time to mend things over with his bosses.

Navas and officials from the Costa Rican Football Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) agreed Tuesday that the goalkeeper will not join “La Sele” for its two upcoming friendlies and will instead stay in Spain to iron out concerns lingering from Monday’s botched transfer deal that would have sent Navas to Manchester United. The federation confirmed that Navas will not travel to the United States for Saturday’s game against Brazil, nor will he come back to Costa Rica for a Sept. 8 friendly with Uruguay.

“Keylor is going through some difficult times and we have to be understanding,” said coach Óscar Ramírez. “We can’t bring a player thats going through a situation like that, so the most logical and reasonable thing to do is have him resolve his problems and in the future we will see what happens for the next call up.”

The next time Ramírez announces his selection will be for a pair of friendlies against the United States and South Africa in October, where Navas is expected to return to the lineup. Costa Rica will then begin 2018 World Cup qualifying when it takes on the winner of Haiti vs. Grenada in November. The 28-year-old goalie has not played with La Sele since a June 11 friendly loss to Spain, in which he saved two sure-goals from club teammate Sergio Ramos.

The loss of the Real Madrid star will only make things tougher for Ramírez, who is heading into his first game as the national team’s coach with only a few weeks to prepare following the abrupt resignation of Paulo Wanchope. Goalie Esteban Alvarado, who started in net during July’s Gold Cup tournament, is expected to replace Navas again.

FEDEFUTBOL President Rodolfo Villalobos said Tuesday that forcing Navas travel to the United States for a friendly would have been the wrong move for the federation to take. Instead, he said, they asked Navas to make the decision himself.

“We understand the difficult situation that Keylor is facing,” Villalobos said. “The uncertainty of his future can take a huge mental toll, so we wanted him to make his own decision on whether or not to join the selection. Keylor told us he would rather stay in Spain to talk with Real Madrid’s management and clear up what’s gone on in the past few days.”

Freddy Navas, Keylor’s father, spoke to media Tuesday to express his disappointment with Real Madrid in its quest to sign Madrid-born goalie David De Gea and the Spanish press that has advocated De Gea’s potential homecoming.

“The Spanish media want to have a Spanish goalkeeper at Real Madrid and they can’t accept a Central American player there,” he told Pasión Deportiva, a local sports radio show in Costa Rica. “They know he’s the best, but they can’t accept it.”

Navas is now the third player who has had to withdraw his name from the national selection that Ramírez announced on Thursday. The federation has announced that midfielder Elías Aguilar and defender Bryan Oviedo will miss the friendlies against Brazil and Uruguay due to injuries. In their spots, Ramírez has appointed Deyver Vega and Waylon Francis.

La Sele kicks off with Brazil Saturday at 2 p.m. Costa Rican time from the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

Contact Michael Krumholtz at mkrumholtz@ticotimes.net

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