ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who plays for Real Madrid, is a fan favorite at the World Cup, drawing hundreds of people to his team’s first practice Wednesday at the Olimpiyets, a small soccer complex in the town of Pavlovsk, located south of St. Petersburg.
Dozens of kids turned up for Costa Rica’s maiden practice session at the complex, saying the only two words they knew in Spanish, “Keylor Navas.”
Fans applauded when the 31-year-old Navas and his teammates took the field for warm-ups, calmed down and then got excited again when their soccer hero went into action, making some impressive stops.
“He’s my favorite player, I also want to be a goalkeeper,” a 9-year-old boy who stood out in his fervor for Navas told EFE.
Fans chanted the Real Madrid and Costa Rican national team star’s name and waved homemade signs in Spanish that said “¡Bienvenido a Rusia!” (Welcome to Russia!) and ¡Querido Keylor Navas! ¡Por favor dame un autógrafo!” (We Love You Keylor Navas. Please give me an autograph!).
Navas signed autographs for his and one fan got the jersey the Real Madrid goalkeeper used in practice.