Keylor Navas will be fit to face Spain in Wednesday's World Cup Group E opener, says Costa Rica assistant manager Ronald Gomez.

Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Navas has not featured for Christophe Galtier's side in Ligue 1 this season, acting as deputy to Italy's Gianluigi Donnarumma.

A lower-back issue for Navas raised fears the 35-year-old would not recover in time for Qatar, before Costa Rica's sole World Cup warm-up game scheduled for Thursday against Iran was cancelled.

The former Real Madrid keeper will still be capable of featuring against Spain, though, according to Luis Fernando Suarez's assistant Gomez.

"We already know all about Keylor Navas, we won't doubt him now as we know his capacity," Gomez said on Saturday. 

"He has had some pain in his back, but it is already solved, so we now expect him to play in the matches and offer what he has always given to us, which is reliability and good management of games."

The experienced Suarez will go to a third edition of FIFA's top competition with a different nation, but has come under some scrutiny for selecting 37-year-old Bryan Ruiz.

Gomez assured Ruiz was selected on merit, though, after doubts were cast on the choice to pick Costa Rica's second-most capped player.

"Everybody knows him. We all know what Bryan represents to this national team and our football history," Gomez added. 

"He is here deservedly, and the coach is right in selecting him here in order to [give him the chance to] retire from the national team, for whom he has given so much, because of the story he has had in our football and the international football star he has been.

"He deserves to be here, he's earned it, it is not a gift from our coach. He has the quality, although we will have to see how many minutes he is capable of playing. But for me, to bring Bryan here is perfect."

Suarez's side have won just two of their last 13 games at the World Cup (D5 L6) and are without victory in their last six at the tournament (D4 L2) – their longest winless run.

Yet, three of Costa Rica's five wins at the World Cup have come in their opening game, as they prepare to face Luis Enrique's talented Spain.

Napoli were not interested in signing Cristiano Ronaldo in the recent transfer window due to their desire to build a younger side, according to sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli.

Ronaldo reportedly declared his intention to leave Manchester United after they missed out on Champions League qualification last season, but he failed to complete a transfer before the end of the window.

The likes of Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid ruled out a move for the 37-year-old Portuguese legend after being touted as potential destinations, while Napoli were also linked.

Ronaldo has only started one of United's six Premier League games this season, playing just 207 minutes of league football under Erik ten Hag.

Napoli, meanwhile, have made a bright start to their Serie A campaign despite losing the likes of Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens, and Giuntoli believes a move for Ronaldo would not have fitted with the club's transfer policy.

"During the transfer market we pretend to chat with everyone, and sometimes we do it for real," he said on Friday. 

"But we wanted to invest in a young team."

 

Napoli were also linked with a move for Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas after selling midfielder Fabian Ruiz to the French giants, but Giuntoli does not see that deal being revived. 

"PSG were interested in Fabian, whom we had to sell, we could bring a high-level goalkeeper to Naples to work alongside [Alex] Meret. In the end, the operation was closed. 

"They did not find an agreement on the salary with the player and we knew we had a binding ceiling that we do not breach for anyone."

Asked whether Navas would be targeted in January, he said: "No, we trust Meret. We are happy that he stayed and against Liverpool he had a great game. Enduring the pressure of the summer did him good."

Napoli remain unbeaten in Serie A this season and made a scintillating start to their Champions League campaign by thrashing Liverpool 4-1 on Wednesday.

But Luciano Spalletti's men suffered a blow when striker Victor Osimhen hobbled off shortly before the break, and the club have now confirmed the Nigeria international suffered a hamstring injury.

"As scheduled, Victor Osimhen underwent diagnostic tests this morning which revealed a second degree injury to his right hamstring," a Napoli statement read on Friday. "The striker had already started carrying out therapies yesterday."

With the transfer window closing on Thursday, some clubs will be scrambling to assess their options.

There may be some movement of free agents still, while clubs who missed out on targets will be weighing up their chances in January with contractual situations evolving.

Inter defender Milan Skriniar is one player who was heavily pursued without success and who will have only six months left on his contract at the turn of the year. 

TOP STORY – PSG TO PERSIST IN SKRINIAR PURSUIT IN JANUARY

Paris Saint-Germain will revive their failed pursuit of Milan Skriniar in January, according to L'Equipe.

PSG made three offers for the Slovakian defender which were rebuffed by the Italian giants, including one worth €50million.

Skriniar is into the final year of his Inter deal and PSG boss Christophe Galtier had been eager to bring him to the French capital.

ROUND-UP

– Napoli will try to sign PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas again in January after missing out on him, reports L'Equipe. The report claims the Costa Rica international and PSG may opt to terminate his contract by mutual consent before January.

Marco Asensio had been linked with Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in recent weeks but he has committed to seeing out his Real Madrid contract which expires in mid-2023, according to Mundo Deportivo.

– The Telegraph reports Blackburn Rovers will be open to pre-contract offers to their hot property forward Ben Brereton Diaz in January after rejecting bids from Fulham and Everton. The Chile international has less than 12 months remaining on his deal at Ewood Park.

Napoli sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli says the Serie A outfit have never made a concrete offer for Cristiano Ronaldo, as the striker looks increasingly likely to stay at Manchester United beyond the end of the transfer window.

Ronaldo reportedly declared his intention to leave Old Trafford after United failed to secure Champions League qualification last season, and with Napoli back among Europe's elite after finishing third in Serie A last term, southern Italy was touted as a possible destination.

Despite Ronaldo only making one Premier League start this season – in a humiliating 4-0 loss at Brentford – United have continually reaffirmed their desire to keep him.

On Wednesday, Erik ten Hag declared he and Ronaldo were "on the same page" and claimed the Portuguese legend remained happy at Old Trafford.

With the transfer deadline fast approaching and the likes of Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich ruling out a deal for Ronaldo, his options appear to be dwindling.

And while Giuntoli emphasised his respect for Ronaldo, he told DAZN a move to Naples had never been on the table. 

"He is an extraordinary player and we can only exalt him," he said.

"There is nothing true, we have an excellent relationship with his agent but there has never been anything concrete."

Meanwhile, Ronaldo's former Real Madrid team-mate Keylor Navas had also been linked with a move to Napoli, but Giuntoli ruled out signing another goalkeeper after Luciano Spalletti's men brought in Salvatore Sirigu.

"We have two goalkeepers and they are very good, so at 99 per cent [chance], we will keep the current squad," he added.

David de Gea is not a new problem for Manchester United. Of course, his backers – and that appears to include many people at the club – will always point to his shot-stopping ability, which has clearly been a strength over the course of his career in England.

We can't forget that legendary performance against Arsenal in a 3-1 away win for United in the 2017-18 season, when De Gea equalled a Premier League record by making 14 saves.

But if that kind of goalkeeper becomes less reliable at arguably the one thing they're good at, questions have to be asked. De Gea was, of course, culpable in United's 4-0 humiliation by Brentford on Saturday.

He let Josh Dasilva's tame long-range effort sneak into the bottom-right corner, and that opened the floodgates on what was one of United's worst days in Premier League history.

But that wasn't all. His needless pass to Christian Eriksen when the Dane was under pressure brought the second goal and further highlighted something De Gea's detractors have started to mention frequently in the past few years: he's not good enough with the ball to be relied upon in a team that wants to build from the back.

That's the style of play Erik ten Hag wants to impose, yet De Gea appears to be far from the ideal candidate. Granted, the need to make saves will always be important for a goalkeeper, and the Spaniard's record of 2.8 goals prevented last season was second only to Jose Sa (8.5) in the Premier League.

But goalkeepers have become more and more important in the implementation of possession-based football over the past decade, and the longer you have the ball, the fewer opportunities the opponent has to score – for example, the three teams with the greatest shares of possession last term also faced the fewest shots.

 

So, if De Gea – who last season only completed 69 per cent of his passes – is not suitable, which goalkeepers are? Stats Perform takes a look at the Opta data of the more realistic potential targets...

KEYLOR NAVAS

If United were able to sign Navas, there's lots to suggest it would be a very shrewd acquisition.

Although the Costa Rican is 35, stylistically the Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper does appear to be a good fit for a team that wants to build from the back.

Over the past three seasons, Navas' 89.9 per cent pass completion rate last term is the highest by any goalkeeper (minimum 1,000 minutes played) in a single campaign across the top five leagues. He posted that figure as he and Gianluigi Donnarumma tussled for the starting role.

The season before he found a team-mate with 85.7 per cent of his passes, while in both campaigns he showed he was dependable when facing shots, recording 80.4 and 76.9 save percentages respectively – the former was the best such record of any keeper (min. 1,000 minutes played) over the past three campaigns.

When you consider PSG are seemingly willing to sell, with a move to Napoli apparently in the works, this could be a wonderful opportunity for United.

 

MARC-ANDRE TER STEGEN

This might seem a slightly unrealistic option initially, but Ter Stegen certainly shouldn't be seen as unattainable.

While Ter Stegen has rarely been suggested as a likely option for Barcelona to raise funds, he does still retain reasonable value and his sale would ease salary limit concerns – let's not forget, the Frenkie de Jong saga may be murky, but the Blaugrana need money.

As for his suitability to Ten Hag's brand of football, Ter Stegen's essentially been playing that way throughout his time at Barcelona. In each of the past three seasons, he has recorded a pass completion percentage of over 85 per cent – no other goalkeeper across the big five leagues can match that.

 

The concern, however, is his shot-stopping capabilities. In the three seasons mentioned he has, Opta data says, conceded more goals than the average goalkeeper would have expected to based on the quality of chances faced, and his save percentage figures for the three campaigns (68.8, 69 and 70.4) aren't much better than the average for the keepers in question (67.4 per cent).

WOJCIECH SZCZESNY

Poland international Szczesny may not be remembered especially fondly in the Premier League as he failed to live up to early promise at Arsenal.

But in Serie A he's carved out a fine career for himself. First, he kept Alisson out of the Roma team, and then he went on to become Juventus' chosen one to replace Gianluigi Buffon.

He isn't perfect, but again he is a goalkeeper with decent passing stats. His accuracy (79.4 per cent) last season was, admittedly, his worst record out of the past three campaigns, but in 2020-21 he was at 89.1.

 

Szczesny's save percentages over the period in question range from 68 to 74.4, which are reasonable without being spectacular, though he prevented 5.1 goals in 2019-20 and 2.3 last term. Both are fine records.

ILLAN MESLIER

Obviously, a goalkeeper's statistics are very often a reflection of the team they play in and the players around them. Just because a keeper has an excellent passing accuracy in one side doesn't mean they will in another, or vice versa.

Meslier is a keeper United are said to have been long-term admirers of, and in the data search that identified Navas, Szczesny and Ter Stegen as suitable, the Frenchman is one of precious few under the age of 23 who could fit the bill long term.

The 22-year-old hasn't played behind an especially effective defence since coming into the Premier League with Leeds United, but in the 2020-21 season he recorded a 72.6 save percentage and a reasonable passing accuracy of 77.1 per cent.

 

Granted, both were significantly poorer in 2021-22 and he endured a disappointing season individually – letting in 15.8 goals more than expected, the fifth-worst in Europe's top league – that will have raised some doubts, but he has shown potential in a Leeds team that is known for being chaotic.

He'd be a gamble, but at this point it could be argued United need as much change as possible.

New Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier has pledged to end predecessor Mauricio Pochettino's practice of rotating between goalkeepers Gianluigi Donnarumma and Keylor Navas. 

Galtier was announced as PSG's new head coach on Tuesday, with the former Lille and Nice boss signing a two-year deal with the club.

The man who beat PSG to the Ligue 1 title when in charge of Lille during the 2020-21 season takes over a squad containing two world-class goalkeepers in Italy's Euro 2020 hero Donnarumma and three-time Champions League winner Navas.

Pochettino used both goalkeepers often during his one full season in charge of the Parisian giants, with Navas making 26 appearances in all competitions and Donnarumma featuring 24 times.

Donnarumma managed one clean sheet more (nine) than Navas did (eight) despite making two appearances fewer, while the two goalkeepers posted similar save percentage figures (Navas saving 75.76 per cent of shots faced compared to the Italian's 75.27 per cent).

Speaking at his unveiling, Galtier argued having a nominated first-choice shot stopper would provide greater clarity.

"I always work with a number one and a number two," he said. 

"It's easier for me and for them to know their position within the squad. I haven't met them yet, but I will do it very quickly."

PSG conceded 36 goals when winning Ligue 1 last season, the joint-fewest in the league alongside Galtier's former club Nice, who registered one more clean sheet (14) than the champions.  

Fabien Barthez does not believe Paris Saint-Germain are getting the best out of their team by alternating between goalkeepers Gianluigi Donnarumma and Keylor Navas.

Donnarumma signed for PSG in the off-season, as one of four remarkable free signings alongside Lionel Messi, Georginio Wijnaldum and Sergio Ramos.

It is fair to say that none of those additions have been rip-roaring successes. Messi has failed to replicate his Barcelona form and scored only seven times across all competitions, albeit that does make him PSG's second-highest goalscorer so far this season, behind Kylian Mbappe (26).

While Messi has at least provided 10 assists, Wijnaldum has only directly contributed to six goals in all competitions (three goals, three assists), creating just 11 chances for his team-mates. Due to persistent injury concerns, Ramos has made just five appearances in total, playing 284 minutes.

Donnarumma, meanwhile, has had to vie with Navas for a place as PSG's first-choice goalkeeper.

The Euro 2020-winning shot-stopper did not make his Ligue 1 debut until September 11, and has started on just 12 occasions in France's top flight, having been a substitute in another 12 league games.

Two further appearances have come for Donnarumma in the Coupe de France, but the latter game saw PSG eliminated on penalties by Nice. The 23-year-old has played in five Champions League matches, but was culpable for Karim Benzema's first goal on March 9 as Mauricio Pochettino's team capitulated against Real Madrid in the last 16.

In the opinion of Barthez, who played a pivotal role in France's 1998 World Cup triumph, having two top-quality goalkeepers at the club is actually backfiring on PSG.

"I respect coaches a lot, I respect Pochettino a lot and I know how difficult this job is, but putting two goalkeepers of this level in competition [with each other] does not serve the team," he told L'Equipe.

"What message are you sending to your goalkeepers? What psychological dispositions do you place them in? Who do you really trust for big games? What do outfield players say to each other?

"You instil doubt in everyone and then, it's the competition that makes you progress, not the training. A guy like Donnarumma - or Navas for that matter - he has to play. What happened [against Madrid] is the consequence of all that."

Donnarumma has made 61 saves, 10 fewer than Navas' 71, across 19 games in all competitions, although the Italy international has registered a better save percentage compared to his Costa Rican counterpart (78.2 in contrast to 76.9).

When taking goals prevented into account, based on Opta's expected goals on target conceded (xGOT) model, Donnarumma also has a clear edge, having prevented a total of 4.8 goals in comparison to Navas' figure of 2.8.

Essentially, Donnarumma's saves have prevented a further two goals than those of Navas, and Barthez has backed the former Milan goalkeeper to improve.

However, he believes Donnarumma "lacked humility" when he made the mistake that allowed Benzema to kick-start a comeback that dashed PSG's Champions League hopes at the Bernabeu.

"I adore him, I have observed his performances for a long time. But on this one, he also lacked humility," Barthez added. 

"But, in a way, what happened to him makes sense. He wins the Euro, he is full of confidence, he arrives in Paris and we put him in competition with Navas."

After failing to qualify in 2018, the United States secured automatic qualification to the 2022 World Cup on Wednesday, despite a 2-0 loss away to Costa Rica.

Following their 5-1 win over Panama, the USA had a healthy enough goal difference to avert the inter-confederation playoff, with a three-point and 10-goal gap between them and Costa Rica coming into the final qualifier. 

In what was an intense start, Keylor Navas was on hand to deny the US in the eighth minute with a fantastic double save. Initially denying Miles Robinson with a reflex save from close range, the Paris Saint-Germain keeper then managed to stop the ball from trickling in following a USA corner.

The match tightened up significantly after that and the dead ball was the likeliest avenue to goal for both teams. The home side eventually broke the deadlock in the 51st minute through Juan Pablo Vargas, and doubled the margin eight minutes later from another set piece via Anthony Contreras.

Both sides finish the third round of CONCACAF qualifying on 25 points, but goal difference separates with the United States on +11 and Costa Rica on +5.

As a result, Los Ticos will face New Zealand in the inter-confederation playoff in June.

After failing to qualify for 2018, the United States secured automatic qualification to the 2022 World Cup on Wednesday, despite a 2-0 loss away to Costa Rica.

Following their 5-1 win over Panama, the USA had a healthy enough goal difference to avert the inter-confederation playoff, with a three-point and 10-goal gap between them and Costa Rica coming into the final qualifier. 

In what was an intense start, Keylor Navas was on hand to deny the US in the eighth minute with a fantastic double effort. Initially denying Miles Robinson with a reflex save from close range, the Paris Saint-Germain keeper then managed to stop the ball from trickling in following a US corner.

The match tightened up significantly and the dead ball was the likeliest avenue to goal for both teams. The home side eventually broke the deadlock in the 51st minute through Juan Pablo Vargas, and doubled the margin eight minutes later from another set piece via Anthony Contreras.

Both sides finish the third round of CONCACAF qualifying on 25 points, but goal difference separates with the United States on +11 and Costa Rica on +5.

As a result, Los Ticos will face New Zealand in the inter-confederation playoff in June.

Gianluigi Donnarumma stands by his decision to leave Milan for Paris Saint-Germain despite having to share goalkeeping duties with Keylor Navas since arriving in France.

Italy's Euro 2020 hero Donnarumma has only made 10 league starts since joining PSG on a free transfer last year, while Costa Rican competitor Keylor Navas has appeared between the sticks in 13 of the side's Ligue 1 outings.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Donnarumma, who made 215 Serie A appearances at Milan after coming through the Rossoneri's youth ranks, thanked his former club for their role in his development, but stressed that he was happy with life at PSG.

"I can only thank the club for what they did for me", the 22-year-old said. "I improved as a man and as a footballer in Milan.

"I think PSG was in my destiny.

"They had been following me for many years and have always made sure I knew about their interest. Everyone at the club makes me feel important, from President Al-Khelaifi to director Leonardo. I am happy and proud to be here.

When asked about his competition with Navas, Donnarumma responded: "I knew that this was the situation when I signed with PSG.

"I don't know what he [Navas] thinks, but I am okay with it because everyone here always makes me feel important.

"It's not true that we are not on good terms, there is an excellent rapport between us, he is a good guy and there are no problems."

Georginio Wijnaldum scored in stoppage time to salvage a 1-1 draw for a below-par Paris Saint-Germain against Lens at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Saturday.

After Lionel Messi hit the post, Mauricio Pochettino's side, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Nice on Wednesday, looked like they were on their way to a second Ligue 1 defeat of the season when Keylor Navas dropped Seko Fofana's effort into his own net after 62 minutes. 

Wijnaldum – introduced in the 70th minute for Leandro Paredes – headed home fellow substitute Kylian Mbappe's left-wing cross two minutes into added time to secure a point for the leaders, though.

The result meant PSG moved 13 points clear of second-placed Marseille, who have a game in hand, while Lens remain in fifth.

The October international break has provided an opportunity to reflect on the club season so far, with the campaign starting to settle into some sort of pattern.

Paris Saint-Germain have quickly moved clear at the top of Ligue 1, but there look to be genuine title tussles on the cards in the Premier League, Bundesliga, LaLiga and Serie A.

However, while there are familiar names involved in each league, that does not mean the same individuals are excelling as in previous seasons.

A close-season that saw two of the sport's greats make moves shook things up a little, giving other emerging stars the opportunity to establish themselves at the forefront of the European game.

Studying the best shooters, creators, dribblers and goalkeepers, Stats Perform takes you through the standout statistical performers of 2021-22 so far.

Hotshot Haaland and luckless Lorenzo

There were familiar faces at the top of the shooting charts last season, as Lionel Messi (196 shots) led the way ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (168). This term, although Ronaldo has hit the ground running, neither rank among the top marksmen.

Kylian Mbappe (35) has had the most attempts, but Erling Haaland is averaging 5.2 per 90. While that is the most among players with 20 total shots or more, it falls short of the 5.8 Messi was mustering last term.

Haaland is certainly making the most of his opportunities, though. From chances worth just 4.77 expected goals (xG), he has produced finishes worth 7.05 expected goals on target (xGOT) – a metric measured after the shot. These efforts have led to seven goals, performing in line with the quality of his finishing.

The Borussia Dortmund man is not outperforming his xG by as much as Karim Benzema, who leads the way in that regard. His nine goals have come from opportunities worth 4.43 xG, although his shots have only accounted for 5.22 xGOT, suggesting poor goalkeeping has also contributed to his success.

Lorenzo Insigne certainly has not encountered any below-par work from opposition keepers. His 27 attempts have been worth 5.5 xG, and he has narrowly surpassed that mark with his xGOT of 5.57. Yet the Napoli captain, third behind Messi and Ronaldo last year with 144 shots, somehow has only two goals.

Just two players in the whole of 2020-21 – Houssem Aouar (seven goals, 10.75 xGOT) and Edin Dzeko (seven goals, 10.58 xGOT) – fell so far short of their xGOT, suggesting Insigne's fortunes must surely change soon.

Benzema benefiting like Kane last year

Bruno Fernandes is one of Europe's best creators and scarcely gets a rest at Manchester United, so it is no surprise to see him figuring high up the rankings for key passes both this season and last. In 2020-21, Fernandes created the second-most chances (95) and the second-most chances from open play (77). This term, he is joint-fifth for total chances created (23).

Eden Hazard is back producing once again, averaging 3.99 key passes per 90 – all from open play. He is third for chances created and first for chances created from open play among those to forge 10 or more opportunities.

But Hazard has only a single assist to his name, not so far as fortunate as Fernandes' team-mate Paul Pogba or his own colleague Benzema.

Pogba has created chances worth just 1.45 expected assists (xA) and Benzema 2.05 xA, yet the pair have seven assists apiece thanks to the fine work of their club-mates. It means Benzema has been involved in 16 goals despite his combined xG and xA making up a mere 6.48. He is a man in top form, but this statistical output does not seem sustainable.

It is Harry Kane's example that Pogba and Benzema are following. His 14 assists led the Premier League last term, but he only actually created chances worth 3.63 xA, far and away the most spectacular disparity as Son Heung-min and Co. boosted Kane's figures.

Messi actually went in the opposite direction, last season creating chances worth 13.37 xA but only being rewarded with nine assists.

Adama dominant with Messi missing

As well as being one of Europe's most prominent shooters and creators, Messi was right at the top for dribbles last term. No player attempted (261) or completed (159) more take-ons. Given Neymar attempted the most dribbles per 90 (11.28) among those with 50 or more attempts, slow starts for two Paris Saint-Germain stars have left a gap in the market.

Unsurprisingly, Adama Traore has stepped into that void. The Wolves winger was next behind Messi for attempts (232) and completions (153) in 2020-21 and now comfortably leads the way (61 and 49). Among those with 20 attempted take-ons or more, Traore is now completing more dribbles per 90 (9.63) than any other player in Europe is even attempting. His success rate is an astonishing 80.33 per cent.

The Spain international has 14 times this season beaten multiple players in the same run and has created six chances immediately after a successful dribble – two more Europe-wide highs.

Traore only ranks joint-second for chances created from all carries, however, his nine trailing Allan Saint-Maximin's 11, with the pair out in front of the rest across various metrics with the ball at their feet.

Oblak off the mark and Keylor kept out

There were two clear outstanding goalkeepers in Europe in 2020-21, as Jan Oblak led the way for goals prevented using expected goals on target data (8.58, having conceded only 25 times excluding own goals) while Keylor Navas had the best save percentage of those to face 50 or more shots on target (80.43). Oblak was second for save percentage (80), with Navas third for goals prevented (8.11).

But both men have slipped below those standards this season.

Oblak has endured a significant wobble, saving only 57.14 per cent of 14 shots and conceding five goals from efforts worth 4.22 xGOT. Navas has a better save percentage of 72.73 but still is not having a positive impact, conceding six from an xGOT of 5.02. He also now looks to have lost his place to Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Going the other way, though, there has been a positive change in fortunes for Aaron Ramsdale, who last year had to make 147 saves – behind only fellow relegated England international Sam Johnstone (166). Since joining Arsenal, Ramsdale has faced just 10 shots on target and saved nine of them, a benchmark save percentage.

Matias Dituro is the standout difference-maker this term, however. Despite conceding 11 times, excluding own goals, since joining Celta Vigo, he has actually prevented 4.05 goals.

Gianluigi Donnarumma has laughed off "nonsense" claims he is unhappy at Paris Saint-Germain and seeking a swift return to Serie A.

The 22-year-old only joined PSG in July after reaching the end of his Milan contract and failing to agree fresh terms with his boyhood club.

However, according to reports from Italy this week, Donnarumma is already eyeing up a move to Juventus in January as he is not happy about having to challenge Keylor Navas for a starting spot.

Donnarumma was given an extended break after playing a huge part in Italy's Euro 2020 success and had to wait until six games into the campaign to make his debut in a 4-0 Ligue 1 win over Clermont.

He has played a further two games since – the 2-1 league win over Lyon and 2-0 victory over Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday – compared to eight appearances for Navas in all competitions.

But after being given the nod to start the big game with City, Donnarumma dismissed reports he is unwilling to share goalkeeping duties with Navas 

"I laugh at it," he told Sky Sport when asked about the recent speculation. "Every time I open the phone, I read a lot of it. 

"I know my strength, I know who I am and there is no problem whatsoever. I am here, and I am happy to be here. 

"I have a club that always supports me, and I just laugh when I read all this nonsense. I'm fine, and I'm going to continue."

Donnarumma impressed on his Champions League debut for PSG by making seven saves at the Parc des Princes, as goals from Idrissa Gueye and Lionel Messi earned the hosts a deserved win.

"I dreamed of a night in the Champions League like this," Donnarumma said. "It was a great match and gives me immense joy. 

"I thank all the people who have been close to me, from my parents to my girlfriend. It hasn't been an easy time, but I have an incredible family. I knew this moment would come.

"Playing with these champions is fantastic, they help you a lot and make you grow. Congratulations to Leo as well for his first goal. He is a phenomenon – there's nothing more to say."

Mauricio Pochettino must now decide whether to stick with Donnarumma in goal for Sunday's league trip to Rennes or instead turn to Navas.

Navas has conceded eight goals in his eight appearances for PSG this campaign, compared to one goal shipped in three outings for Donnarumma, who also boasts a better save percentage (92.86 compared to 75.76).

Donnarumma's save percentage of 92.86 is the best of any player from Europe's top five leagues to have played at least three times across all competitions, with Arsenal's Aaron Ramsdale (91.67) and Chelsea's Edouard Mendy (88.89) next on the list.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma said he has not joined Paris Saint-Germain to sit on the bench, but will "stay humble" in his bid to oust Keylor Navas. 

Donnarumma left Milan upon the expiration of his contract at the end of June, subsequently joining Ligue 1 giants PSG on a free transfer.

The 22-year-old – who made his Milan debut at the age of 16 in 2015 – is one of five recruits PSG have made this transfer window, including Lionel Messi.

After making 30 Serie A appearances in 2015-16, Donnarumma missed just five league games for Milan over the past five campaigns, establishing himself as one of the world's best goalkeepers.

He only helped his reputation at Euro 2020, playing a starring role as Italy won the competition – indeed, Donnarumma made two saves in the penalty shoot-out victory over England in the final on July 11.

However, he has found himself starting the 2021-22 campaign behind Navas having been an unused substitute in the first game he was available for - a 4-2 win over for PSG over Brest last Friday.

"I came to Paris to play. PSG sought me and wanted me. And I wanted PSG,” Donnarumma told Canal Plus.

"I came here to play, so I will give my best to be a starter, but there must be competition. I am ready to play.

"I want to become one of the best goalkeepers in the world and in order to do that, it’s necessary to sacrifice and be humble. Being humble is the most important thing."

 

Donnarumma's switch to Paris has raised some questions given Costa Rica's Navas has shown himself a more-than-capable goalkeeper.

In Ligue 1 last term, excluding penalties and own goals, Navas let in 17 goals from an xGOT conceded total of 24.1, giving him a figure of 7.1 goals prevented.

Meanwhile, Donnarumma conceded 35 from an xGOT of 34.1, giving him a goals prevented figure of -0.9 in Serie A last season.

Navas might be feeling the heat, though, when he flapped at a relatively weak shot from Franck Honorat in the game against Brest when PSG were 2-0 up. 

Donnarumma insisted his rivalry with Navas, who has yet to keep a clean sheet in three Ligue 1 appearances this season, will be strictly a professional one and will not impact upon his relationship with his PSG team-mate.

"Competition doesn’t scare me. Keylor is a big goalkeeper, but I am here to play. The competition is good and can help us improve," Donnarumma added.

"There won’t be problems, Keylor is a great person, we are friends and there are no problems, competition is normal in big clubs."

Paris Saint-Germain's new goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma believes he needed to move away from Milan to grow as a player.

Donnarumma left Milan upon the expiration of his contract at the end of June, subsequently joining Ligue 1 giants PSG on a free transfer.

The 22-year-old – who made his Milan debut at the age of 16 in 2015 – is one of five star recruits PSG have made this transfer window, with Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi, Georginio Wijnaldium and, of course, Lionel Messi also arriving at the Parc des Princes to bolster an already remarkable squad.

After making 30 Serie A appearances in 2015-16, Donnarumma missed just five league games for Milan over the past five campaigns, establishing himself as one of the world's best goalkeepers.

He only helped his reputation at Euro 2020, playing a starring role as Italy won the competition – indeed, Donnarumma made two saves in the penalty shoot-out victory over England in the final on July 11.

While he awaits his PSG debut having only just resumed training following an extended break, Donnarumma revealed his reasons for leaving Milan.

"I spent eight years at Milan, it was my home, I experienced wonderful moments there," he told Corriere dello Sport.

"Milan still excites me today, I have great respect for the people who work there and for the fans. But life is made up of choices, we had different ambitions.

"I will always be a fan of Milan. Eight years are not forgotten, but I needed to change to grow, to improve and become the strongest. I felt the need for new spaces, for a new reality."

Donnarumma also insisted the decision to leave the Rossoneri was his alone, with agent Mino Raiola having little influence.

"There are decisions that have a maturity. I have always made my career choices alone, my family has always left me free and supported me," Donnarumma continued.

"Mino did the same. He respects the wishes of his clients 100 per cent, then of course he does everything to satisfy their requests. I left Milan and I had no contact with other teams, I swear, but I was sure that with a good Euros, someone would show up."

With three of their new additions, along with star names such as Marco Verratti, Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Marquinhos, yet to feature, PSG have nevertheless made a winning start to their first full Ligue 1 campaign under Mauricio Pochettino, though they did lose the Trophee des Champions to Lille, who won the top flight last term.

Donnarumma, though, knows PSG's true goal comes in the form of European glory.

"Last season, the team did not win Ligue 1 but the real objective is different – the Champions League," he said.

Donnarumma's switch to Paris does raise some questions, as PSG already had a superb goalkeeper in the form of Keylor Navas.

Both played 45 games in all competitions for their clubs last term, though Navas conceded 36 goals, 14 fewer than Donnarumma's tally of 50.

Donnarumma did face more shots (561 compared to 503), yet Navas' save percentage was still noticeably better – the former Real Madrid shot-stopper keeping out 79.55 per cent of the attempts he faced, in contrast to a rate of 68.55 from his new team-mate.

Navas saved three penalties, with Donnarumma making one save from a spot-kick, while the Italy international also made two errors leading to goals – his Costa Rican counterpart, on the other hand, made none.

In terms of distribution, the players are similar, with Donnarumma tallying up more passes (1,310) though with a slightly lower accuracy (79.08 per cent compared to Navas' 80.23 from 1,123 attempts).

On the subject of competing with such a high-quality goalkeeper for the number one shirt, Donnarumma said: "It's an additional motivation, something that fascinates me."

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