With Costa Rica proving by far the biggest surprise at the World Cup, goalkeeper Keylor Navas has received numerous plaudits for his contributions to the side’s astounding run to the quarter-finals.
Arguably the top shot-stopper of the tournament thus far, Navas’ displays over the past few weeks have seen the Levante player linked to a big-money transfer this summer and centre-back Giancarlo Gonzalez believes his teammate has the talent to deserve such a move.
‘Keylor [Navas] is a great player,’ he said. ‘He helps us a lot because of his experience in La Liga. In Spain he faces the best players in the world and he passes that experience on to the group.'
‘He's a leader and you can see that in his performances. For us, having a goalkeeper of such qualities and playing at that level is key.'
‘As a national side and also as a country, we're proud of him because he's shown that he has the ability to play in any team and that he will perform the same way or even better in here with us.’
The country’s first-choice goalkeeper for over five years, Navas’ performances for Levante during the past season had already attracted the attention of a host of top European clubs, with his stunning form now carrying over into the World Cup.
With Liverpool reportedly one of the sides monitoring the 27-year-old, his role in helping his national team defy their pre-tournament odds has gone a long way towards proving his Premier League credentials, though the club would need both a bid of €10 million and to fight off interest from Atletico Madrid in order to secure his services.
With their defence thwarting Uruguay, Italy and England on the way to topping Group D, as well as Greece in the last 16, MLS star Gonzalez has also recently been linked with a summer move, having been rated by Gazzetta dello Sport as the top defender of the tournament so far.
The Columbus Crew likely face a fight to keep hold of the 26-year-old past this season and another exceptional team performance in Saturday’s clash with Netherlands, as Costa Rica look to cause another upset, would no doubt see more clubs circling a sizeable chunk of the CONCACAF outfit's lineup.