‘I’m here in La Liga to win’: Mat Ryan hungry for success with Real Sociedad

At his first official press conference with Real Sociedad, Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan revealed his desire to succeed - and showcased his fluency in Spanish.

After four years at Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League, Ryan returns to Spanish football, having had a three-year stint at Valencia from 2015-17.

The 29-year-old signed a two-year deal with an option for a one-year extension at Sociedad after the clubs agreed an undisclosed fee.

Los Txuri-Urdin are a historic club with a strong fanbase, and following a fifth-placed finish in the league last season, will play in the 2021-22 Europa League.

Speaking alongside club president Jokin Aperribay at his first media conference, Ryan demonstrated his fluency in Spanish and explained his reason for returning to Spain.

“I’m very happy to be here. It’s been a willingness of mine to come back here to Spain, to the country of Basque, and represent the team,” Ryan told Spanish journalists.

“It’s a club that you see has a lot of history and has recently done really well. On the day I signed, I saw the trophy in the president’s office, and it’s an example of the success they’ve had recently.

I’m happy and excited to be here and to help the club achieve more success. The club wants to win and I’m here to help them win.”

During his time at Valencia, Ryan made 10 appearances over a three-year period before being loaned to Genk and then finding regular football at Brighton.

Since then, his game has gone to another level. A veteran of two World Cups, Ryan helped Australia notch an eighth successive victory in Asian qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2022 tournament in Qatar with a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Jordan last month.

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Fresh from a short stint with his boyhood club Arsenal at the back-end of last season, Ryan has joined Sociedad to showcase what he has learnt since he last appeared in Spain and to achieve success.

“I believe I’m a different goalkeeper today because of the experiences I’ve had since playing for Valencia, which was a great club and good experience,” Ryan said.

“I want to show now what I have learned in that time since Valencia because I think that playing against the teams that I played in recent years has helped me grow.

“Obviously I am sitting here saying that I have improved but I want to show everyone with my actions and I’m going to put my head down and work hard and see what opportunities are going to follow.

“I have come here to play and I think that is what the club wants and they want me to show what I have.

“I want to start, fight and compete. I believe that through hard work I can help the team.

“During my time at Valencia, there was a lot of instability around the club but I used my experiences there to improve and grow, and that is what a continue to do in the English Premier League.

“Now I’m back here and I’m ready to give everything I have and help the team.”

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