Lopetegui giving no guarantees to 'fighter' Navas
Sep 18 2018 - 14:24
Real Madrid goalkeeper Julen Lopetegui refused to say whether Keylor Navas will be handed a first-team return in Wednesday's Champions League opener against Roma.
Navas was Madrid's first choice in each of their consecutive Champions League triumphs but has lost his spot with the European titleholders to close-season signing Thibaut Courtois.
One option for Lopetegui would be to select Navas as his cup goalkeeper – splitting duties in the same manner as Barcelona once did between Claudio Bravo and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Although he again praised Costa Rica international Navas at his pre-match news conference, the former Spain boss refused to commit to this course of action.
"Navas is training very well," Lopetegui said. "He's doing what we thought he would do and what he's going to do throughout the season – fight and compete.
"I'm not going to say anything about [which goalkeeper will play]. We have fantastic options in goal and whatever decision we make is going to be a good one.
"I'm not going to say who is going to play and who is not going to play."
Lopetegui moved to allay fears of fatigue surrounding star midfielder Luka Modric.
The playmaker inspired Croatia's run to the World Cup final and was named UEFA Player of the Year following his recent efforts for club and country.
However, the 32-year-old was substituted after an hour of Saturday's 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao and has not completed 90 minutes this season.
"After the World Cup players come back at different levels and different times," Lopetegui added.
"I think they are back to their best now. We'll always take the best decision for the team.
"He's had a summer of highs and lows but he's getting through it now and training and playing. I think he's more prepared with each passing day."