Legendary Real Madrid goalkeeper Miguel Angel has reflected on Keylor Navas, who matched a long-standing record in the win over Espanyol.
Navas equalled Angel’s record for clean sheets at the start of the season by shutting out Los Periquitos, Angel also going three games without conceding at the start of 1975-76.
“It’s not false modesty, I didn’t remember that because statistics are an invention of football in the 21st century,” Angel told AS when asked about the record.
“But it’s a flattering thing, positive recognition.”
Angel was asked what it was like to play at Santiago Bernabeu in those days, and what it would have meant for Navas to be cheered as he was when Madrid routed Real Betis.
“The Bernabeu weighs heavy. Sometimes it made my legs tremble. Madrid goalkeepers have to be at a high level because a mistake here puts you on the front page of the newspapers,” he acknowledged.
“They tell me [Navas] trains like a wild animal at Valdebebas and tries to correct his defects. He has very good conditions to work and we’re seeing that. I can see only one concern…
“He’s missing experience in big games, with Madrid at least. He played for Costa Rica at the World Cup. Levante isn’t like playing for Madrid.
“We’ll know when the derby with Atletico Madrid comes, or el Clasico or the big opponents in the Champions League. I trust him.
“The Bernabeu singing his name will have given him a lot of strength and self-confidence. It’s not often the Bernabeu sings the name of the goalkeeper. Praise usually goes to the scorers.”
It was put to Angel that the shadow of Iker Casillas looms over Navas, a suggestion he rejected, and he concluded by looking back on his own career.
“Iker was a great goalkeeper for 16 years. He won everything and was an idol for the fans. But the day to say goodbye always comes,” the former Spain international considered.
“It’s hard to take, but it’s inevitable. I spent 18 seasons with the club. Imagine how hard it is to say ‘it’s over.’
“I liked my nickname, ‘the cat.’ I wasn’t tall but I made up for it with reflexes and a lot of training. That gives you agility. I’m grateful [for nearly 350 appearances], to be honest.”