Sunday, October 21, 2018

Lopetegui focused on Navas amid Courtois rumours

SoccerNews in La Liga 8 Aug 2018

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Julen Lopetegui has refused to discuss the prospect of Thibaut Courtois arriving at Real Madrid and insists the club has complete faith in goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Belgium international Courtois has not reported for training with Chelsea this week amid intense speculation he is set to swap Stamford Bridge for the Santiago Bernabeu.

Speaking after his team’s 2-1 International Champions Cup win over Roma in New Jersey on Tuesday, new Madrid coach Lopetegui would not be drawn on the transfer rumours regarding the former Atletico Madrid loan star. 

“As I’ve said, I don’t speak about players who do not belong to Real Madrid. I’ll only speak about the ones who are at Real Madrid and today is no different,” he said.

“Did you see him today? Keylor is our goalkeeper. He’s here. There is no other goalkeeper we can talk about. Keylor, Kiko [Casilla], Luca [Zidane] and [Andriy] Lunin are the ones I can speak about.

“Keylor is phenomenal. He’s been phenomenal all pre-season. He’s an extraordinary goalkeeper. He’s delighted to be with Real Madrid and we’re delighted to have him with us.”

Mateo Kovacic is believed to have been offered to Chelsea as a makeweight in the proposed Courtois sale, but Lopetegui claimed he wants to keep the Croatia midfielder. 

“There’s nothing 100 per cent certain yet,” he said.

“Mateo has said he wants to leave. I want him to stay – he’s an important player. We’ll see how everything ends up. If he happens to leave, we’ll look for solutions. 

“As for [Luka] Modric, it’s the same as I’ve said – [Madrid president Florentino Perez] spoke in a completely clear manner and there’s no reason for me to add anything else.”

Pressed on what his response would be if Kovacic does leave, Lopetegui said: “The solutions are something we’d speak about privately within the club. If Mateo does leave, a player of his level, which is extremely high, we’ll have to look for someone at that type of level. 

“To reach all of our objectives we need to have a balanced team and he [plays] a very important position and he’s a very important player.”

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