Ryan splashes cash to fly 27 family members to World Cup

Selfless Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan has splashed approaching $100,000 of his own money to bring 27 members of his extended family to Russia to watch Australia.

And he’ll be happy to dig even deeper to extend their stay, should results go their way and the Socceroos reach the last 16 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday (AEST) after they Group C meeting with Peru in Sochi.

Ryan, who credits his family with providing the love and support crucial to the success story his career has become, was happy to, his own words, “give a little bit back”.

With the traveling Ryan clan led by mum Carol, sister Megan - and including his grandfather and a three-year-old cousin, Ryan revealed: “That’s the influence family has on you.

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“They’ve been there along for the journey obviously since I was born with my mother. They’ve witnessed every sacrifice and everything that I’ve had to go through.

“Fortunately, the life I live now enables me to try and give back to them a little bit.



“I covered the trip for them but, like I said, for me to share with them an experience like this is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. “

The Brighton & Hove Albion gloveman, who is reputed to earn in the region of $3 million a season with the Premier League club, was willing to bankroll an ever bigger congregation of relatives.

He canvassed a total of 41 on their availability, with 27 taking up the offer.

“I hope (the ones here) remember this trip for all the right reasons,” he added. “Our plan is not to leave (yet) and theirs won’t be either.”

That will depend on Australia defeating Peru and France downing Denmark - a result which would see them reach the knock-out stage.

With more touches than any other keeper so far at this World Cup, and more saves than any other gloveman in the EPL coming into the tournament, Ryan added: “The oldest here is my grandfather and the youngest is my cousin. The age ranges from three to early seventies. It’s quite a big spread.



“It’s the first time, other than my mother and my sister, that I paid for the family to come across and watch,” he added.

“Obviously, the World Cup doesn’t come around that often and the chance to share something like this with them was a no-brainer.

"I asked family members if they were interested in coming across and half of them said yes. Half of them are still at home, and that’s a little bit better for the bank balance, I guess.

“Nonetheless, it’s been a great time sharing the moment with them and it was designed in the way that it would become a lifelong memory for all of us.

“There’s nothing better than being able to treat your family well and to look after them. I’m very fortunate and thankful to football for allowing me to do that.”

Coach Bert van Marwijk, who said he now almost feels “a little bit Australian” in a statement exemplifying the bond he’s developed with the players, wasn’t surprised by Ryan’s gesture.

“I think the story of Mat says enough, the way he is says everything about our team,” he declared.




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3 min read
Published 25 June 2018 at 11:58pm
By Dave Lewis in Sochi