Socceroo keeper voted best in Belgium

Mat Ryan capped a stellar season in Belgium with the goalkeeper of the year award.
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Socceroos shot-stopper Mat Ryan has capped an extraordinary 24 hours, taking out the goal-keeper of the year award in Belgium's Jupiler League.

The Club Brugge gloveman was voted the competition's best by his peers in what has been a dream debut campaign abroad for the 22-year-old.

The accolade came just hours after Ryan was named in Ange Postecoglou's preliminary 30-man World Cup squad for Brazil.

"I'm pretty overwhelmed and humbled to receive such an award," Ryan said at the awards ceremony.

"It's recognition for the season that I've had and very thankful for to everyone at the club that's helped me achieve it.

"It's pretty special to be voted by the other players in the competition and for them to recognise me and vote for me makes me very happy.

"I think it's the most important award when it's voted on by other players in the league, I'm over the moon to receive it."

The award is sure to give Ryan a big confidence boost ahead of his first World Cup next month.

He is likely to be the Socceroos' first choice 'keeper in Brazil, facing the huge task of keeping the likes of Spain, Netherlands and Chile at bay.

Ryan had received rave reviews since his move to the club from Hyundai A-League side the Central Coast Mariners after their title success last season.

He has kept 14 clean sheets from 38 appearances, with the club still pushing for silverware with two matches still to play.

"I didn't really expect to pick up an award, especially in my first season," Ryan said.

"I'm happy with the season I've been having and I just wanted to be consistent all year.

"I think it will be (big news in Australia). It's always good to hear from back home when an Aussie is doing well overseas.

"Hopefully it can open up the door for some other Aussies to come over here to Belgium in the future."

It's not the first individual award Ryan has won in his young career, taking out a goalkeeper of the year and two young player of the year awards during his time in the A-League.

Ryan has also been linked with a move to Real Madrid with his former Central Coast coach Graham Arnold telling a radio station in Melbourne of the Spanish giant's interest. 

Send Off the Socceroos

Socceroos vs South Africa, presented by NAB
Monday 26 May 2014
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 7.30pm

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