Costa Rica: A Land of World Famous Goalkeepers

Football Soccer

The soccer team of Costa Rica is preparing to participate in the maximum event of this sport at an international level, the 2018 World Cup of Russia, from June of this year the Central American nation will attend the soccer’s World Cup for the 5th time.

Soccer is the most popular sport in the country, a national pastime that unleashes passions, a sport made up of teams of 11 players where 10 try to put a ball in a goal guarded by a single player known as goalkeeper, and it is precisely this important position of the game that has to create the most recognized Costa Ricans soccer players worldwide.

Let’s see a list of the most famous tico’s goalkeepers in history:

Emilio Sagot

Emilio Sagot
Emilio Sagot

Considered by many the best Costa Rican goalkeeper of the 20th century, this player of great reflexes and excellent technique was born on February 26th, 1942, with “La Sele” (as the national team is popularly called)  started to shine in the under 20 Central American Championship of 1960, winning the best goalkeeper of the tournament and debuted in 1963 with the senior national team.

In 1965 he emigrated to Mexican soccer, with Zacatepec becoming the 1st tico goalkeeper to play abroad, in Mexico he was also part of the Pachuca and Atlante squads.

Sagot maintained an extraordinary national record of unbeaten in World Cup qualifiers, accumulating 377 minutes without receiving goals in the qualifying phase for the World Cup of England 1966, where the Costarican team almost achieved its 1st participation. During the late 1960’s he was considered the best goalkeeper in the region.

Luis Gabelo Conejo

Luis Gabelo Conejo

Officially debuts in the First Division of Costa Rica on November 27th, 1981, with the Ramonense Athletic, his extraordinary performance in the soccer world cup of Italy 90 led him to become the first Central American goalkeeper to play in the prestigious Spanish first division, playing for the Albacete Football Club. In the local first division, he also played for teams Like  Cartagines Sports Club and the Herediano Sportclub.

During the World Cup of Italy ’90, he was in charge of protecting the goal of “La Sele” in his 1st participation in the World tournament, his incredible saves and his safety as a goalie led him to be considered by many specialists and fans as the best goalkeeper of the tournament. With Costa Rica’s National Team, he also played the Gold Cup of Concacaf in 1991.

The International Federation of Football History and Statistics designated him the second-best goalkeeper of the 20th century in CONCACAF. In addition, he is a member of the Costa Rican Sports Gallery since 2010.

Keilor Navas

Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas
Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas

Undoubtedly the most famous and recognized Costa Rican footballer worldwide, Navas started as a professional footballer with the Deportivo Saprissa in 2005, in 2010 emulates Gabelo Conejo and departed to Spain joining the Albacete FC where he played until 2014.

On September 23rd, 2014, Navas became the first Latin American goalkeeper to defend the colors of Real Madrid, the most winning football team in the history of this sport. During his 1st season he was mostly on the bench as a backup of the legendary Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas, but since 2015 he became the owner of the goal and was a regular starter when the team won the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League setting a record for Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League by not conceding any goal in his 1st 8 appearances; 6 of these were in the 2015-16 season.

He also usurped the Dutch player Edwin van der Sar to reach the second spot in clean sheets behind Germans Jens Lehmann in the all-time list. He was the most consistent keeper in the 2015-16 season conceding only 3 goals in 11 appearances, keeping 9 clean sheets.

Navas also was the starting goalkeeper when Madrid won the 2016-17 Spanish Liga and the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League. In addition to this date, he has won the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the Spanish Super Cup in 2015.With Costa Rica, Navas led the national team to reach the quarterfinals of the 2014 world cup In Brazil.

Right now, Keilor is recognized as one of the 3 best goalies in the world and is preparing to be the one who will keep the dreams of the nation when Costa Rica Will try to conquer the glory during the next World Cup in Russia.

SOURCEOtto Pereda
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