Socceroos skipper and goalkeeper Mat Ryan currently has the most clean sheets of any goalkeeper in Europe’s top five leagues for his Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.
Ryan, 31, notched-up another clean sheet for AZ in a comprehensive 3-0 home win over Heerenveen on Sunday to stay in touch with league leaders PSV Eindhoven.
AZ Alkmaar sit in second place in the Eredivisie and must be grateful for the Aussie shot-stopper who has now notched up eight clean sheets – the most currently in Europe’s top 5 leagues.
Ryan signed an 18-month contract with the Dutch top-flight side in January after an eventful ordeal with FC Copenhagen that lasted just six games.
Ryan had been locked in a heated feud with Poland’s Kamil Grabara throughout the season as they battled to be the club’s starting keeper, with Grabara insulting the Aussie on several occasions.
Mat Ryan currently has the most clean sheets of any goalkeeper in Europe’s top five leagues
Ryan kept his 8th clean sheet of the season with AZ’s 3-0 win over Heerenveen
After Ryan’s shock error led to Argentina’s second goal in the Socceroos’ 2-1 World Cup round-of-16 loss last year, Grabara sarcastically tweeted it ‘must have been politics’ keeping the Australian keeper out of the Copenhagen side.
Ryan reacted to the insult after the match, saying: ‘Not surprised, really. His opinion doesn’t concern me.’
Ryan, who has struggled for consistency over the last couple of years, said he will be able to bring his best game to the new club.
‘It’s a really good club with a lot of ambition and it’s really exciting,’ Ryan told the club’s website at the start of the year.
‘It’s a new chapter, (there’s) the excitement of not knowing what’s about to unfold.
‘Being ambitious, you dream of achieving the highest of the heights and here at AZ where circumstances lie in the league, in European football and the domestic cup there’s a lot to play for.
‘I’m confident that I can come here and contribute to the team and the goals that we have.’
The club’s Director of Football Max Huiberts says the experienced Aussie gloveman is exactly what AZ was looking for.
The Socceroos skipper signed an 18-month contract with the Dutch top-flight side after being dumped by Copenhagen FC
‘He has shown at various levels that he is good and was our top candidate from the start,’ said Huiberts.
‘We were looking for someone who is there immediately when he is fit. That’s him.’
Ryan, who was the Aussie No. 1 by the age of 21, left Australia in 2013 as a youngster from western Sydney and quickly made a name for himself at Club Brugge.
He then did a stint with Valencia before moving to Brighton where he played for over three seasons.
Afterwards, he spent time with Arsenal before moving to Real Sociedad – but found first-team opportunities fleeting.