Football

Real Madrid owe their La Liga placing to Keylor Navas

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Real Madrid sit proudly atop La Liga after nine games.

With no losses so far in the Spanish top flight and only three goals conceded, it's obvious where Los Blancos' strengths lie.

The appointment of Rafael Benitez was always going to bring an expected improvement on the defensive aspects of Real's game and that's precisely what has happened.

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Yes, Cristiano Ronaldo has been banging in the goals left, right and centre again and yes, Real continue to shift through the gears when attacking and remain brilliant to watch, but one player stands out above all.

The goalkeeper.

Tears

Keylor Navas very nearly became Manchester United's number one until the last-minute collapse of the swap deal involving David de Gea - a set of circumstances that the Costa Rican 'keeper admitted left him in tears.

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Despite seemingly not wanting him before the start of the campaign, Florentino Perez et al will be coveting the custodian for the foreseeable future.

There are still suggestions that the deal with the Red Devils could be made, but there would be uproar on the terraces of the Santiago Bernabeu if that were the case.

Of the nine games played so far, three of Real's victories can be directly attributed to the fantastic work by Navas.

Most shots faced

The past weekend against Celta Vigo is a particular case in point. Navas kept the visitors in the game on at least three occasions.

In others, penalty saves and standing big in the one-on-ones has won the game for his team.

To put things into a little more perspective, the Mail provides some interesting stats that will back up how much Real rely on him - the 28-year-old has made 27 saves from the 31 shots on target during this season.

That’s more than any 'keeper in the top five European leagues has faced.

Furthermore, there have been 131 shots sent goalward which is almost double the amount that Manuel Neuer at Bayern Munich has dealt with.

It perhaps puts a twist on just how well his defence are standing up to the rigours of top-level combat.

But when your number one is in this kind of form, does it really matter?

Las Palmas are next up at the Santiago Bernabeu and only the most optimistic fan would bet on the Canary Islanders adding to their six goals.

Biggest stage

A stiffer test awaits in Andalusia as Sevilla look to add Real to their list of scalps at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Unai Emery has overseen a good run of form and watched his team climb the table to a more respectable eighth position. A win against Los Blancos brings them right back into the European picture.

After a break for internationals, Barcelona come to town in an eagerly awaited El Clasico.

Lionel Messi should've returned for the Catalans and loves to score against this opposition. How well Navas performs on the biggest stage will dictate the rest of his campaign.

Who is currently the best goalkeeper in the world? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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Topics:
La Liga
Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid
Football

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