He won't get to test himself against the departed Lionel Messi but Socceroo Mat Ryan is eager to get his career back on track in Spain with Real Sociedad.
There's disappointment he won't get to test himself against Lionel Messi but Mat Ryan is confident Spain is the perfect place to erase the disappointment of the end of his time with English Premier League club Brighton.
The Socceroos goalkeeper joined Real Sociedad last month on a two-year deal after being frozen out last season at the Seagulls and spending the back half of the season on loan at Arsenal.
It's Ryan's second stint in La Liga after a disappointing spell with Valencia from 2015 to 2017 which included a 7-0 Spanish Cup semi-final hammering by a Messi-inspired Barcelona.
"I was looking forward to coming up against him this season, hopefully," Ryan said about Messi's Barca exit to Paris Saint-Germain.
"It's a bit of a shame that won't be the case now."
Messi won't be at Camp Nou when La Real begin their La Liga campaign away at Barcelona this weekend and Ryan will also be absent as he continues to recover from knee surgery following a training mishap last month.
That setback hasn't however dampened Ryan's enthusiasm that he can get his career back on track after the end of his four years at Brighton.
"I was probably a bit blindsided by how it all played out back in Christmas there," Ryan said.
"I'm not the first person to be dropped or not wanted by a team that happens to everyone.
"I was really enjoying the Premier League as well and the challenges of that and feeling really settled there as well but at the same time I'm really excited to be back here and eager to get into work and then seeing what can unfold in this next chapter."
Despite his recent mixed fortunes at club level, Ryan firmly remains Graham Arnold's No.1 and says he's aiming to be back on the park and playing before the Socceroos begin the next stage of World Cup qualifying against China next month.
Ryan's last Spanish adventure started with a bang, signing a six-year deal with Valencia after a successful time in Belgium with Club Brugge.
After starting the 2015-16 as Valencia's starting goalkeeper, Ryan would only make 10 La Liga appearances for the club before moving to England.
"My period obviously here in Spain the last time didn't play out as smoothly as I would have hoped," he said.
"I feel there's a little bit of unfinished business, so to speak, in that sense.
"I also feel like I'm different, more experienced, and probably for that a better goalkeeper now than what I was back then.
"I'm confident that I can come here and really help Real achieve more success."