Football: Socceroos keeper Ryan signs for Valencia

Football: Socceroos keeper Ryan signs for Valencia
Australian Socceroos football goalkeeper Mat Ryan (R) is watched by assistant coach Tony Franken (L) during a team training run in Vitoria on June 4, 2014, as they prepare for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY - Goalkeeper Mat Ryan has completed a switch from Club Brugge to La Liga club Valencia on a six-year deal, the Australia international providing the six-times Spanish champions with cover for the injured Diego Alves.

The 23-year-old, who was a reported target for Liverpool after a string of outstanding displays for the Socceroos in their Asian Cup triumph in January, won the Belgium Pro League goalkeeper of the year award during both his seasons at Brugge.

Named goalkeeper of the tournament at the Asian Cup, the move to Valencia, who finished fourth in La Liga last season, continues the upward trajectory of a career that started at Blacktown City in western Sydney.

Valencia will be without Brazilian Alves for the rest of the year due to the knee injury he suffered on the final day of last season and had been linked with a move for Victor Valdes after the Spain goalkeeper fell out of favour at Manchester United.

"It has not been an easy task looking for a Champions League-level goalkeeper," the club's chairwoman Lay Hoon Chan in a Valencia news release. "Mathew may be young but he is ambitious and a player with huge potential. Furthermore, he has experience in Europe and at international level, including the 2014 World Cup. We believe he will make a major impact at Valencia CF."

An A-League champion with Central Coast Mariners in 2013, Ryan made his international debut in late 2012 and represented his country in all three matches at last year's World Cup in Brazil. "I know that the club is a very important institution in the world of football and that this move is a big step in my professional career," Ryan said.

"Of course, I was following Valencia CF in La Liga last season. They are a side with fantastic players, who had a great campaign and took fourth place in the league. Our main objective now is to qualify for the Champions League." Valencia will enter the Champions League in the playoff round along with Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen, Lazio, Sporting Lisbon and five clubs from the third qualifying round next month.

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