Real Madrid have finally signed Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas on a six-year deal from Levante.
Navas goes from earning modest money at Levante, who are a mid-table side in Spain’s La Liga, to a millionaire’s salary with the European champions.
Navas was arguably the best keeper at the World Cup as Costa Rica reached the quarterfinals for the first time.
They beat Uruguay, Italy and Greece before losing a penalty-kick shootout to the Netherlands.
Navas made a string of saves in that quarterfinal in which Costa Rica held the Dutch to a 0-0 tie through 120 minutes.
His heroics boosted his marketability and prompted Madrid to outbid rivals for his services.
Real paid Levante $10 million for the 27-year-old stopper. Cayman resident Alfredo Whittaker is pleased for Navas, who he has known since birth because the head of CONCACAF’s referees’ department played football professionally with Freddy Navas, Keylor’s father, in Costa Rica.
“Keylor had a fantastic season and the statistics show he was the league’s best although he was with little Levante,” Whittaker said.
“He’s a good person and also very spiritual and down to earth, not one into the night life. He is blessed with not only great talent but good funds now.”
Real have a surplus of keepers now. Navas will provide competition for Spanish keepers Iker Casillas and Diego Lopez.
Whittaker said that from an online poll, respondents overwhelmingly want Casillas to leave and Navas to be the No. 1 keeper ahead of Lopez.
Whittaker added that he thinks Real can retain the European crown and the biggest rivals are likely to be Bayern Munich and Paris St. Germain.
Casillas, 31, flopped in Brazil, conceding seven goals in Spain’s defeats by Holland and Chile which saw Vicente del Bosque’s side crash out of the tournament at the group stage even though they were the defending champions.
Navas will be presented to the club’s fans at the Bernabeu on Tuesday after undergoing a medical.
He is the third big name player to join Real this summer after signing German World Cup winner Toni Kroos and Columbian forward James Rodriguez.