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Real Madrid Postseason Grades: Goalkeepers

We take a look at how the men between the pipes fared.

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

If there's one position this season at Real Madrid which has been under scrutiny from fans, media, pundits, coaches and players, it's been the goalkeepers. Last summer saw league starter Diego Lopez depart for AC Milan while Levante and Costa Rica standout Keylor Navas came in to, on paper, provide competition for club captain Iker Casillas. In reality, there wasn't much of a competition at all as Navas campaign saw him start in only 10 matches while third string keeper Pacheco only got one start under his belt.

Here's how the three keepers graded out.

Iker Casillas: Along with Gareth Bale, Casillas was undoubtedly the most criticized player this season with fans and critics picking up where they left off with his poor World Cup form. Moments of brilliance, such as his save versus Lionel Messi in the first Clasico of the season and penalty kick saves near the midseason break, were often overshadowed by gaffes and performances where an unacceptable amount of goals relative to shots faced were conceded. While it is true that his defense did him no favors, and if we're being honest with ourselves he hasn't played behind a defensive-minded back four in who knows how long, his waning physical abilities and indecision in the air has truly been a hindrance at times. Though it's too harsh to pin all the poor results solely on him, there's just no excuse for allowing four goals to Real Sociedad and four to Schalke 04 at home.

Comparing his league save percentage, 70.1, to Keylor Navas' last season, 78.6 behind a much worse Levante defense, shows that Father Time might just be catching up to the captain. It's not just save percentage either, comparing this season's Iker versus last season's Navas shows us that Navas made more saves per game (3.81 to 2.41), saves per goal (3.71 to 2.20) and conceded less goals per game (1.05 to 1.09) all behind that terrible Levante back four. The trends just simply aren't favoring Casillas at this point, despite his best efforts. Given his age and declining abilities, whether fans like to face this fact or not, Casillas is likely to be the position most critically targeted during the summer as Manchester United's David De Gea appears to be in the middle of the club's cross sights. Not a disastrous campaign for the captain but still one which, to some, raises as much doubt as confidence going forward. Indications seem to point to him playing the role of reserve keeper next season.

By the numbers (in all competitions):
Starts: 47
Victories: 34
Draws: 4
Losses: 9
Goals conceded: 44
Shutouts: 20

Grade: 6/10. Above average relative to many league keepers in Europe, but far from his glory days and far too indecisive when faced with direct threats on goal. One could delve into the advanced numbers even further to back up the point that it's time to be moving on but that's an open secret at this point.


Keylor Navas: Brought in for €10 million following the departure of Lopez, some viewed this as the club allowing a competition between an aging captain and a hot in-form keeper but that wasn't ever really the case. To his credit, the team won eight out of his 10 starts but the two toughest tests, versus Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey, ended in disappointment as they produced one loss and draw apiece. Navas made an okay amount of spectacular saves, but for the most part wasn't tested to the same levels Casillas was so it's difficult to compare their save percentages, claim success, saves per game and goal and distribution. Perhaps this is due to the lower level of competition faced, but one can't help and feel that this club never saw his full capabilities and might not see them again given the rumors of his future floating around as of late.

By the numbers (in all competitions):
Starts: 10
Victories: 8
Draws: 1
Losses: 1
Goals conceded: 7
Shutouts: 5

Grade: 5/10. Not much he could do about the limited playing time, and while he looked solid versus average competition the two results versus Atletico Madrid put a damper on his campaign. Unfortunately for him, the biggest highlight of his season might be an embarrassing individual blunder versus Espanyol that gifted the opposition an easy goal.


Pacheco: A solid keeper but, unfortunately for him, not someone who appears to be in this club's plans as a starter of any kind. He featured in only one match, the 5-0 victory versus UE Cornella in the Copa del Rey where he pitched an easy shutout. His contract expires at the end of June so a decision needs to be made regarding his future. He's definitely good enough to start for a number of clubs, but Madrid keeping him on as a third keeper isn't out of the question either.

By the numbers (in all competitions):
Starts: 1
Victories: 1
Draws: 0
Losses: 0
Goals conceded: 0
Shutouts: 1

Grade: 5/10. One start versus a weak opponent, one clean sheet victory. We're being friendly and giving him a little boost to brighten up his day.


Overall, a decent, if unspectacular, season for the current crop of keepers. Unfortunately, decent isn't good enough for a club with such lofty ambitions. While there is quality depth when it comes to the second and third-string, the starting position is one which will undoubtedly be addressed this summer with De Gea being the likely transfer. These grades should be taken with a grain of salt given how attack-minded the defenders at this club are, but far too many mistakes took place and far too many shots on target ended up in the back of the net for a club with aspirations of winning six titles.

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