What Socceroos goalkeeper Maty Ryan learned from Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez

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A nightmare that quickly turned into a blessing

He's just played a crucial role in keeping Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League, but over two years ago now Maty Ryan was on the wrong end of hat-tricks from Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

In goal for Valencia during a Copa Del Rey semi-final first leg at the Camp Nou in February 2016, the Australian keeper found himself stranded between the sticks against the world's best as Barcelona steamrolled to a 7-0 win.

Ryan inevitably had the finger pointed at him despite some questionable defending in front of him and the game all but ended what was a troubled spell with Valencia.

While a game he'd rather forget, hindsight has provided Ryan a valuable lesson in not over-respecting his opponents with the 26-year-old admitting he did lose his way late in the game as Suarez netted a brace to bring his tally to four for the game.

Despite the scoreline, Ryan's confident he has learned from the experience and was immediately eager to test himself again.

"Straight after the game, I wanted to play them again," Ryan wrote for Players Voice.

"I was desperate to get another crack and maybe redeem myself a bit.

"If that opportunity were to arise again, I know I would approach the situation differently.

"I would focus on my own preparation and performance. I wouldn’t waste time and energy over-respecting my opponent." 

Mat Ryan, Brighton

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As far as tough lessons go, it's no doubt one of the most invaluable in Ryan's now flourishing career.

Now playing in the Premier League for Brighton, the Aussie keeper starred in goals keeping a memorable clean sheet against Manchester United that ensured his side avoided top-flight relegation. 

Facing the likes of Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford that day, it's safe to say Ryan was taught a very valuable lesson from Messi and Suarez. 

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