Socceroos goalkeeper Mathew Ryan has backed himself to rise to the challenge of playing in one of the world’s best leagues as he gets to grips with life at Valencia.
The 23-year-old Australia international left Club Brugge for Los Che last month, the next step in a meteoric rise for the former Central Coast shot-stopper.
An Asian Cup-winner with his country in January, he lifted the A-League title with the Mariners in 2012-13 and has a Belgian Cup winner’s medal in his personal trophy cabinet. Ryan could well start the new La Liga season as Valencia’s number one, with incumbent shot-stopper Diego Alves sidelined by injury for the first months of the campaign.
Speaking at the Colonia Cup pre-season tournament in Germany last weekend, the prodigious talent acknowledged the size of the challenge ahead of him but believes he has what it takes to succeed in Spain.
“I would not be here if I did not think that I was ready,” he said.
“You always want to challenge yourself at the highest level and you get that at Valencia and in a league like Spain. Time will tell how it ends up. It is obviously going to take some time to adjust to the speed of every game and the quality of the opposition every week and it is just a challenge.”
Two of the biggest challenges to any goalkeeper in the Primera Division will be facing perennial title challengers Barcelona and Real Madrid, who boast superstar forwards Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo respectively.
And while stopping the Argentine or the Portuguese forward could yet prove beyond Ryan, he at least has until November 30 before Barcelona arrive at Estadio Mestalla.
Los Che do not face Real Madrid for the first time in the league season until January.
“They are two names in Spain that are, with other players, of tremendous quality, but I am looking at one step at a time,” he said.
“We have got a lot of games before we are facing any of those teams. It’s the start of something great.”
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