Keylor Navas’ ‘secret’


Luis Llopis’s innovative methodology has elevated Real Madrid’s keeper and keeps on giving in Marcet.

When Luis Llopis made his way to la Foundation Marcet, the International Academy of Goalkeepers didn’t take long to realise that they were in the presence of one of the best and most charismatic trainers in the world. Football’s recent history has made it evident that they don’t even come close to making mistakes and Keylor Navas’ success with the Real Madrid CF shirt has done nothing else but put the cherry on the icing; proliferating the legend of one of the preeminent trainers of Marcet.

Luis Llopis, (Hernani, 1964) brought his sporting career to a hiatus due to a fibula injury. However, he decided he wouldn’t be leaving the footballing world any time soon, as he would then specialise in goalkeeper training. After accumulating experience all over the world as a renowned international ambassador for teams like Real Madrid CF and Athletic de Bilbao, he wound up in Marcet to develop an innovative procedure as far as goalkeeping is concerned.

His great charisma and vast curiosity for researching new ways of learning were key when elaborating the Programa Avance, still to date a central pillar in the Marcet approach. In Barcelona, Llopis also collaborated on the development of intensive courses and in making the Pruebas Nacionales de Porteros.

All over Spain, his fame proceeded him. His experience was sought after by the world’s best clubs and Llopis didn’t take long in returning to Real Madrid as an idol. He did this alongside Keylor Navas, both of which coming from Levante UD. It was in Valencia where the Costa Rican goalkeeper would make a place for himself in La Liga. He owes this to his ‘guardian angel’, to quote the newspaper ‘Marca’: “With Llopis, Keylor improved in all possible aspects as a goalkeeper and by reason of this union, graced match after match in the Brazilian World Cup and was eventually signed to Real Madrid”. A path then followed by the Gipuzkoan trainer.

The rotation player from Madrid has the following to say about their eleventh Champions League win: “Cristiano Ronaldo was responsable for translating the decisive penalty. He was the night’s hero, but behind those shots is a mind, a key component to Zinedine Zidane’s staff: Luis Llopis, [who] not only taught the keepers where to throw themselves for a penalty in function of the striker, but also gave advice on the strikers themselves. The fact that Madrid didn’t fail any of their shots in Milan, is largely down Llopis”.

Marca doesn’t hesitate in exalting one of Marcet’s greatest teachers: “Llopis was cherished by the very same “Arrigo Sacchi […] for his methods. He’s studious of his own profession who traveled half the globe to learn… His wisdom is pure gold for those starting out.” In an article published by ‘ABC’, the historical Real Madrid goalkeeper Miguel Ángel declared that Keylor had progressed so much “because he had an excellent goalkeeper trainer” and that “with him, he took pleasure in a significant improvement”.

Only, the Costa Rican keeper’s success is neither a singular case nor a fluke. Llopis’ work at Marcet is still giving sharp results, thanks to a cutting edge technique which is at the forefront of the preparation of intelligent goalkeepers. This can be seen through the signings of the young Edu Frías and Javier Cendón by RCD Espanyol and Villarreal CF. If the present is in Keylor’s hands, the future belongs to Marcet keepers alike.


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