Kostas Manolas

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Kostas Manolas
Kostas Manolas 2011.jpg
Manolas playing for AEK Athens in 2011
Personal information
Full name Konstantinos Manolas
Date of birth (1991-06-14) 14 June 1991 (age 23)
Place of birth Naxos, Greece
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 12 in)
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Roma
Number 44
Youth career
2003-2007 Pannaxiakos
2007–2009 Thrasyvoulos
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2009 Thrasyvoulos 6 (0)
2009–2012 AEK Athens 66 (3)
2012–2014 Olympiacos 49 (4)
2014– Roma 2 (0)
National team
2009–2011 Greece U21 5 (0)
2013– Greece 13 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13 September 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 29 June 2014

Konstantinos "Kostas" Manolas (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος "Κώστας" Μανωλάς, born 14 June 1991) is a Greek footballer who plays for A.S. Roma and the Greek national team. He is the nephew of Greek football legend Stelios Manolas.

Club career[edit]

AEK Athens[edit]

2009–10 season[edit]

Kostas Manolas started his youth career at Thrasyvoulos in 2005. In 2009, Stelios Manolas, who was the AEK Technical Director was scouting his nephew at a youth match with AEK manager Dusan Bajevic and was impressed with his performance.

On 16 June 2009, Manolas signed a three-year deal with AEK Athens.[1]

After signing for AEK, Manolas stated: I am very happy signing for the team I support, hopefully I can be a legend at the club like my uncle and end my career at AEK.

Manolas made his debut against AO Kavala and was rewarded the MVP award. After the match he stated, "It's a dream to play for the club I love". Manolas was also rewarded the MVP the following week playing against PAOK. In his first 7 matches, Manolas was match MVP for 5 of them.

Manolas scored his first professional goal against arch rivals Olympiacos F.C. on 19 May 2010.[2] Although he was playing with a broken jugal since the 1st minute of the match after a dangerous nudge by Kostas Mitroglou, he scored on the 6th minute, ignoring all pain. However, he left the pitch on the 15th in a bad situation. He refused to be taken to the hospital before the match was over, despite being urged by his uncle Stelios Manolas. The next day, he underwent a successful three-hour surgery, recovered, and quickly returned to training sessions.

2010–11 season[edit]

Manolas was a key figure for AEK Athens in the season 2010-11, playing very impressive performances in the Superleague Greece but also in the Europa League which drew interest from many European teams such as Genoa, Udinese, Getafe and Schalke. Manolas scored a very important goal for AEK Athens against HNK Hajduk Split securing the win for AEK Athens. The following week, Manolas found the back of the net again, this time against Larissa in the Greek Cup(AEK Athens would later go on to win the Greek Cup). His impressive performances convinced then AEK Athens coach Manolo Jimenez and earned him a spot in the starting line-up, forcing David Mateos on the bench who had joined AEK Athens on loan from Real Madrid.

Manolas developed massively while playing alongside AEK Athens icon and Euro 2004 winner Traianos Dellas and stated to the press, "It is an honour to play alongside such a great player like Dellas, I have developed and become a better player. His experience has helped me become confident on the ball and the decisions I make in the game. I have learned a lot from him and he is basically like a teacher to me who I look up to"

On 30 April 2011, Manolas won the first trophy of his career winning the Greek Cup with AEK Athens.[2][3] He played a massive role in winning the trophy and played solid throughout the match. Manolas had a memorable moment in the match where he cleared a shot off the line. This chance ended up being a crucial one for the opponents Atromitos who have never won a trophy in their history. Manolas also received MVP honours due to his outstanding display. After the match Manolas stated, "It is a dream for me to win a trophy with my childhood club AEK, and I hope there's many more to come in the future". Manolas finished the 2010/11 season playing 36 matches while scoring 3 goals.

2011–12 season[edit]

On July 11, 2011 Manolas signed a new 3-year deal with AEK Athens keeping him at the club until 2014.[4] Manolas' contract was worth €900K earning €300K per-season including bonuses that could reach up to €1.4M. Manolas renewed his contract despite interested from big European outfits Werder Bremen, Sevilla, VfL Wolfsburg and Hamburger SV.[5] Manolas agreed with AEK Athens on €4.M buy-out clause for foreign teams and a €10.M buy-out clause for Greek teams.[6]

Shortly after signing a new 3-year contract with AEK Athens, Manolas stated to the press, "I am extremely happy that I am going to continue playing for the team of my heart and it is an honour to wear the AEK Jersey for the next three years with my childhood club. I applaud AEK president Stavros Adamidis who believes in me and declined great offers from European teams to keep me at the club despite the huge economical problems the club is suffering. My dream now is to become the team's captain and win the league just like my uncle Stelios Manolas, who achieved this when he joined AEK."[7]

Manolas started off the season very positively playing his first competitive match of the 2011/12 season against Georgian side Dinamo Tbilisi in a Europa League qualifier where he played extremely well, helping AEK Athens to 1-0 victory. Manolas was given heavy praise from the AEK Athens coach Manolo Jimenez.[8] Manolas scored his first goal of the season in an away match against Panionios, Manolas also scored the only goal of the match, finishing in a 0-1 victory for AEK. Manolas dedicated his goal to his manager Manolo Jimenez who had been taking criticism in recent weeks.[9] Manolas also scored the first goal for AEK Athens in a 1-3 away win against SK Sturm Graz in the Europa League. During the January transfer period, Everton showed sincere interest in the young centre back and manager David Moyes stated "Manolas has huge talent and is a player for the future ".[10] On 30/1/12, it was said that AEK Athens and Everton had agreed on terms to sell Manolas to Everton.[11] However Manolas declined the offer as he felt he would be leaving his club in a bad situation as the club would have only had three centre backs in the squad, 36 year old Traianos Dellas and two youth players Mavroudis Bougaidis and Elfar Freyr Helgason after the departure of former team-mate Cala. AEK Athens chairman Stavros Adamidis, stated "It was Manolas who declined the offer, not AEK".[12]

Olympiacos Piraeus[edit]

2012–13 season[edit]

On 1 July 2012, Manolas joined Olympiacos on a free transfer until 30 June 2016 after his contract with AEK Athens has expired. “I am very happy that I’m at Olympiacos and I can’t wait to play with the red and white shirt in front of a full Karaiskaki and our fans,” Manolas said. At a time where AEK were struggling to pay off crippling debts, the departure of one of the club’s key players came as another major blow. As well as losing one of the Greece’s brightest talents, the damage was also symbolic, with Manolas leaving the club where his uncle Stelios Manolas, an AEK legend, made almost 700 appearances and won five Greek titles for the Athens side. Ahead of the next season, AEK were only able to buy and sell Greek players up to the age of 22 and were barred from purchasing foreign players, as punishment for failing to meet the Greek Super League’s financial criteria. AEK were allowed to renew the contracts of any player already at the club, whether their highest earners would be willing to remain at a club that has a history of failing to pay player wages remained to be seen. Moreover, AEK were also been banned from taking part in the Europa League that season by the Hellenic Football Federation, with their place taken by Asteras Tripoli.[13]

He made his debut against PAS Giannina F.C. on 15 September 2012 in a 1-2 away win. He scored his first goal for Olympiacos against Skoda Xanthi F.C. in a 4-0 home win.[2] Manolas made 24 appearances for Olympiacos in the league that season, helping them win the Superleague.[2] On 11 May 2013 he played in the Greek Cup Final against Asteras Tripoli, winning 3-1 to clinch a league and cup double for the season.[2][14]

2013–14 season[edit]

Reports in Greece suggested that Tottenham, Sunderland and Fulham were all keeping an eye on Olympiakos defender Kostas Manolas ahead of the January transfer window. According to Gazzetta.gr, Manolas had captured the attention of Premier League scouts since moving to Olympiakos on a free transfer from AEK Athens the previous summer. Manolas nearly joined Everton at the start of 2012 after AEK agreed a fee with the Toffees, only for the player to decline the opportunity to move. It was thought that Manolas could be interested in a move to the Premier League to push his case for continued inclusion in Fernando Santos's plans, with Greece currently sitting in second place in their World Cup qualifying group behind Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, Manolas was unlikely to seriously consider any move that would see his chances of first-team football jeopardised.[15] It was also reported that then Manchester United head coach David Moyes targeted the Olympiakos defender as a Nemanja Vidic replacement after confirming his departure from Old Trafford at the end of 2013/14 season to Inter Milan, while United's other starting central defender Rio Ferdinand would later follow his teammate out, leaving United short of quality in central defence. Moyes would end up being sacked and rumours of a move immediately ceased.[16]

He scored his first goal for Olympiakos in UEFA Champions League in a 1-0 home win against Benfica building the foundations for the next round.[17] He scored his second goal in the UEFA Champions League in a 2-1 away loss against Paris Saint-Germain F.C.[18] contesting the UEFA Champions League round of 16 for the first time since 2009/10 and seemingly cruising to the Greek Super League title, Olympiacos would be full of confidence going into the Tuesday first-leg visit of Manchester United FC. With the Red Devils failing to display their usual dominant domestic form that term, Olympiacos Kostas Manolas thought the Greek champions had what it takes to make the quarter-finals for only the second time. "I believe we will give a good performance. I hope Manchester United will not get better than they are now, so we can defeat them," said Greece defender Manolas.[19] However, Olympiakos missed an opportunity to pass the quarter-finals for only the second time in the club's history, as Manchester United's Robin van Persie hit a hat-trick to stun Olympiakos.[20]

On 22 March 2014, Manolas expanded his contract with the Greek giant Olympiakos for another year. The new contract expires in the summer of 2017.[21][22]

International career[edit]

Following a continued stretch of form from Manolas, former Greek national manager Otto Rehhagel called him up for the 30 man provisional World Cup squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but he failed to make the final 23 man squad. Manolas would wait roughly three more years before eventually making his international debut against Switzerland, in a friendly match. Leading up to the 2014 World Cup, Manolas' exceptional season with Olympiakos was not only to earn him a spot from Greek national manager Fernando Santos in the 30 man provisional squad, but also to the final 23-man squad for 2014 FIFA World Cup.[23] He was named by The Independent newspaper as being among the 50 best players in the Brazil 2014 World Cup.[24]

Honours[edit]

AEK Athens

Olympiacos

References[edit]

External links[edit]