For the first time in 15 years Iker Casillas is not in Real Madrid's squad. The legendary goalkeeper and Madrid decided to part ways and move on from the controversy around his last four or five years in the Spanish capital. Casillas' heir between Real's sticks will need to cope with a lot of pressure, and that's something neither Keylor Navas nor Kiko Casilla are used to.
That's mainly why Los Blancos are still trying to sign David De Gea this summer when they could get him as a free agent a year from now. Until he signs his contract with Madrid -- something that could happen now or in 2016 -- Navas and Casilla will be fighting for the spot. Who has the edge in that battle?
-Keylor Navas: The Costa Rican signed for the club a year ago hoping to start over Casillas, something that never happened. Ancelotti decided to play him in the Copa del Rey but Real Madrid did not perform well and got knocked out by Atlético de Madrid early in the tournament. It's fair to say that Navas did not shine in those games against Atleti, but Ancelotti did not give him enough games to gain some confidence and form ahead of that tie. He's not a very conventional keeper but he manages to make saves. Keylor might not be the favorite player for those fans who wanted an aerial upgrade over Iker Casillas though. Benítez loves to defend well and set pieces will surely be one of his focus, something that could hurt Navas' chances of making the starting XI over Casilla. The Costa Rican was arguably the second best goalkeeper in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but is he ready to start for Real Madrid after spending most of his career playing in minor clubs like Levante?
-Kiko Casilla: Casilla is a product of Real Madrid's academy and he is back after leaving in 2007. Espanyol sent him on loan several times but there he became the keeper he is today. He made his debut with the Spanish national team last season making a big mistake in a friendly against Germany, and while is known for being a classic, safe and steady goalkeeper he tends to cost a couple of goals per season to his team. He is nowhere near Navas' potential but Casilla is more than a decent reserve goalkeeper for Real Madrid, ready to step his game up in case the starter gets injured or suspended for a long period of time. It's safe to say that Casilla will be on the bench for most of the season, no matter if De Gea ends up signing for Madrid or not.
Again, this battle for the spot could change dramatically if Los Blancos complete the signing of De Gea this month. If that happens, expect Keylor Navas to leave and Casilla to stay as De Gea's reserve.