Keylor Navas‘ departure from Real Madrid in the summer of 2018 saw Thibaut Courtois become Los Blancos‘ undisputed No.1, and the two goalkeepers will face off once again in the Champions League this Tuesday night, as Paris Saint-Germain host Real Madrid at the Parc des Princes.
The last time that Keylor and Courtois played against each other with their clubs was in the 2019/20 season, the Costa Rican’s first away from the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, as PSG won 3-0 in Matchday 1 before drawing 2-2 in Madrid in Matchday 5 of the group stage.
Fast forward to 2022 and the Belgian shot-stopper is enjoying one of the best moments in his career, while Keylor is finding it hard to keep his No.1 spot nailed down, as Gianluigi Donnarumma looks the favourite to start against Real Madrid.
Los Blancos signed Courtois as a replacement for Keylor after the former Chelsea ‘keeper won the Golden Glove award with Belgium at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. After a steady start, he is looking at home nowadays.
During his first season at the club, Courtois conceded a goal every 64.8 minutes, a figure which was well below his averages at Genk (82.65 minutes), Atletico Madrid (110.09 minutes) and Chelsea (90.02 minutes).
Keylor’s departure gave Courtois freedom
Following the 2018/19 campaign, then-Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane made it clear to the two goalkeepers that Courtois would be his No.1 and that Keylor would play second fiddle.
After some consideration, the Costa Rican ‘keeper decided to leave the Bernabeu and join PSG in September 2019.
This change of environment and reduced competition allowed Courtois to play regularly and build a wall behind the Real Madrid defence.
Now, the Belgian averages a goal conceded every 114.03 minutes, almost double his stats from his first season.
Keylor, on the other hand, concedes a goal every 106.76 minutes on average at PSG.
Keylor or Donnarumma?
Fresh off the back of winning the European Championship with Italy last summer, Donnarumma surprised many by agreeing to join PSG on a free, following the expiration of his contract at AC Milan.
Since then, the 22-year-old has displaced Keylor at PSG at times this season and has made the most of Mauricio Pochettino‘s preference to rotate his keepers.
It would therefore make for quite a shock if Keylor is the chosen ‘keeper for the Real Madrid match after the Argentinian coach has often opted for Donnarumma in recent games.