AFC ASIAN CUP

Since making his international debut for Australia against DPR Korea in December 2012, Socceroos captain and goalkeeper Maty Ryan has been no stranger to success.

The 31-year-old former Central Coast Mariners man was between the posts when Ange Postecoglou led the country to their first AFC Asian Cup™ title on home soil in 2015 and he has been a mainstay of the squad that has qualified for each of the last three FIFA World Cup finals.

But for all that time at the summit of Asian football, Ryan has not had his thirst for glory quenched and when the Australians roll up in Qatar to launch their latest challenge to claim the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar in January, Ryan will be man leading the Socceroos’ charge.

Factfile
Name: Mathew Ryan
Age: 31
Position: Goalkeeper
Caps: 86
Goals: 0
Club: AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands)

“We want to be having success at this level as often as we possibly can,” Ryan said last year after the Australians’ qualification for the knockout rounds of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

“I think it’s important now we take this momentum and run with it and that’s definitely the ambition of the group and what we want to do.

“The next big thing is the Asian Cup. We want to go ahead and win that…so there’s plenty to look forward to.”

Having started his career at Australian semi-professional outfit Blacktown City – Ryan’s local club – he soon moved to Central Coast, from where he has built a remarkably successful professional career.

A spell in Belgium with Club Brugge was followed by a move to La Liga side Valencia and a switch to English Premier League outfit Brighton & Hove Albion via a short loan spell with Genk.

Ryan played 121 times in the Premier League for Brighton before a loan spell with Arsenal and a move back to Spain, spending a season with Real Sociedad. He then moved on to Copenhagen in Denmark and is currently contracted to Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.

But while his club career has been nomadic, he is an unquestioned mainstay for the Socceroos and is the first name on the team sheet for head coach Graham Arnold.

After 86 appearances for Australia, including at the 2014, 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups and featuring in the side that defeated Korea Republic in the AFC Asian Cup final in 2015, Ryan’s ability and experience give the Socceroos the most reliable of foundations.

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga