clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Keylor Navas' start for Real Madrid against Deportivo would not be shocking

Keylor Navas could be handed a rare start by Carlo Ancelotti in Saturday's home game against Deporito La Coruna but is only part of the Italian's goalkeeper rotation.

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Jaws should not drop and mountains should not be made of molehills if Keylor Navas is named in Real Madrid's starting line-up for Saturday's Liga clash against Deportivo La Coruna.

According to AS, the Costa Rican is set to get the nod ahead of Iker Casillas for Saturday's home game against Depor and that has already led to some suggesting the decision has been made on the back of a mistake by Casillas in last weekend's 4-0 derbi defeat at Atletico Madrid.

Although Ancelotti acknowledged that "not one Real Madrid player did well" at the Vicente Calderon last Saturday, any decision to play Navas instead of Casillas this weekend will be one based purely on rotation, and not form, against the Galicians.

It is unfortunate that a possible call-up for Navas comes just a week after Casillas was in the spotlight again for an error that allowed Tiago to fire Diego Simeone's side ahead in El Derbi. The likelihood is that the former Levante man would have been handed a chance in this game regardless of what happened at the Calderon given Ancelotti's desire to give his summer addition more playing time when he can.

"We're not in the cup but Keylor will play more games," the Italian said after Madrid bowed out of the Copa del Rey against Atletico. Navas had been the designated goalkeeper in the domestic cup and Ancelotti gave him assurances that he would still get time on the pitch, despite the early exit. The 28-year-old has already played 90 minutes in emphatic home wins against Elche and Rayo Vallecano in La Liga this season, as well as two starts in the Champions League against Basel and Ludogorets.

A home game against Depor, a team fighting to stay in the top flight alongside Elche and Rayo, presents Ancelotti with the perfect opportunity to give Navas more time on the pitch. He will have the backing of the home support, especially given his absence in last weekend's heavy defeat, and will be expected to have a quiet afternoon against a team Madrid will be expected to beat comfortably, as they did at Riazor earlier this season.

There will be some that suggest Ancelotti has done the right thing to get Casillas out of the potential firing line if he does drop to the bench this weekend. While this may perhaps be true, the Italians thinking will be more along the lines of rotation and the need for Navas to get more match action than a desire to protect his regular starter's confidence.

A look through the fixtures between now and the end of the season would highlight Saturday's match as a favourable one for the Costa Rican star to be handed a third opportunity of the season. So too do home games against Levante, his former club, Granada, Eibar and Almeria, as well as possibly the short midweek trip to Rayo Vallecano in April. This weekend is not the first time Navas will fill in for Casillas and it will not be the last - regardless of form.

Ancelotti said after the Atleti defeat that he has faith in his players and Casillas is included in that. Unlike the Champions League final and the disastrous World Cup for Spain, the mistake on Saturday was the exception rather than the rule for the 33-year-old this season. Casillas had gradually regained form and confidence following doubts at the start of the current campaign and the questions surrounding the No.1 jersey had largely disappeared.

The likelihood is that if Casillas does take his place on the Bernabeu bench this weekend he will be back between the sticks for the Champions League clash at Schalke next week. It will be almost a year to the day that Madrid triumphed 6-1 in Gelsenkirchen at the same stage of last season's competition and a year to the day that Casillas made a superb reflex save to deny Julian Draxler with Madrid 1-0 up.

Casillas will chip in with more saves of a similar nature between now and the end of the season as Madrid's first-choice goalkeeper. Navas will get his chance in the low-key matches as he bides his time to battle for the No.1 jersey next term - and Saturday's visit of Depor will be one of those chances.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Managing Madrid Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Real Madrid news from Managing Madrid