Kostas Manolas

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Kostas Manolas
CSKA-Roma (4).jpg
Manolas warming-up for AS Roma
Personal information
Full name Konstantinos Manolas
Date of birth (1991-06-14) 14 June 1991 (age 25)
Place of birth Naxos, Greece
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 1 12 in)[1]
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 85 (6)
2012–2014 Olympiacos 73 (4)
2014– Manchester United 86 (2)
National team
2009–2011 Greece U21 5 (0)
2013– Greece 23 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14 May 2016.
† Appearances (goals)

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 24 March 2016

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 former Greek footballer Stelios Manolas.

Club career[edit]

AEK Athens[edit]

2009–10 season[edit]

Manolas began his youth career at Thrasyvoulos in 2007. In 2009, Stelios Manolas, who was the AEK Athens' technical director at the time, was scouting his nephew at a youth match with AEK manager Dušan Bajević and was impressed with his performance. His uncle , Stelios Manolas , was a former player playing for AEK F.C. and former manager.

On 16 June 2009, Manolas signed a three-year deal with AEK.[2] After signing, Manolas said, "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." He made his debut against AO Kavala and was named man of the match. After the game, he stated, "It's a dream to play for the club I love." Manolas was also rewarded with man of the match honours the following week against PAOK. In his first seven matches, Manolas was named man of the match in five of them.

Manolas scored his first professional goal against archrivals Olympiacos on 19 May 2010.[3] Although he was playing with a broken jugal bone since the first minute of the match after a dangerous nudge by Kostas Mitroglou, he scored in the sixth minute, though he later left the match in the 15th minute. 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 2010–11 season, playing impressive performances in the Superleague Greece but also in the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League, which drew interest from many European teams such as Genoa, Udinese, Getafe and Schalke 04. Manolas scored a very important goal for AEK against Hajduk Split, securing the win for the Greek side. The following week, Manolas found the back of the net again, this time against AEL in the Greek Cup, which AEK would later go on to win. His impressive performances convinced then AEK Athens coach Manolo Jiménez and earned him a spot in the starting line-up, forcing Real Madrid loanee David Mateos to the substitutes' bench.

Manolas developed massively while playing alongside AEK icon and UEFA Euro 2004 winner Traianos Dellas, stating 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, the Greek Cup.[3][4] He played a large role in winning the trophy and played solid throughout the match against Atromitos, where at one point he cleared an opposition shot off his line. Manolas also received man of the match honours due to his outstanding display. After the 0–3 victory, 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." He finished the 2010–11 season playing 36 matches, scoring three goals.

2011–12 season[edit]

On 11 July 2011, Manolas signed a three-year contract extension with AEK, keeping him at the club until 2014.[5] His contract was worth €900,000 earning €300,000 per-season including bonuses that could reach up to €1.4 million. Manolas renewed his contract despite interested from big European outfits Werder Bremen, Sevilla, Wolfsburg and Hamburger SV.[6] Manolas agreed with AEK on €4 million buyout clause for foreign teams and a €10 million buyout clause for Greek teams.[7]

Shortly after signing the contract, 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."[8]

Manolas started the season positively, playing his first competitive match of the 2011–12 season against Georgian side Dinamo Tbilisi in a 2011–12 UEFA Europa League qualifier, helping AEK to 1–0 victory. He was given heavy praise from Manolo Jiménez.[9] Manolas scored his first goal of the season in a 0–1 away victory over Panionios. He dedicated the goal to Jiménez, who had been taking criticism in recent weeks for his team's poor performances.[10] Manolas also scored the first goal for AEK Athens in a 1–3 away win against Austrian club Sturm Graz in the Europa League. During the January transfer period, the English Premier League's Everton showed sincere interest in the young centre back, with the team's then-manager David Moyes stating, "Manolas has huge talent and is a player for the future."[11] On 30 January 2012, it was said that AEK and Everton had agreed on terms to sell Manolas to Everton.[12] Manolas, however, 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: Traianos Dellas and two youth players Mavroudis Bougaidis and Elfar Freyr Helgason after the departure of loanee Cala, who was recalled back to his club Sevilla. AEK Chairman Stavros Adamidis stated, "It was Manolas who declined the offer, not AEK."[13] He left AEK Athens having 85 appearances (6 goals) in all competitions.

Olympiacos[edit]

2012–13 season[edit]

On 1 July 2012, Manolas joined rivals Olympiacos on a free transfer until 30 June 2016 after his contract with AEK Athens had 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. 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.[14]

Manolas made his Olympiacos debut against PAS Giannina on 15 September in a 1–2 away win, then scored his first goal for his new side against Skoda Xanthi in a 4–0 home win.[3] Manolas made 24 appearances for Olympiacos in the league that season, helping them win the Superleague.[3] 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.[3][15]

2013–14 season[edit]

Reports in Greece suggested that English clubs Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland and Fulham were all keeping an eye on Manolas ahead of the January transfer window.[citation needed] According to Gazzetta.gr, Manolas had captured the attention of Premier League scouts since moving to Olympiacos on a free transfer from AEK the previous summer. It was thought that Manolas could be interested in a move to the Premier League to push his case for continued inclusion in the Greek national team manager Fernando Santos' plans, with Greece at the time in second place in their World Cup qualifying group behind Bosnia and Herzegovina. Manolas, however, was unlikely to seriously consider any move that would see his chances of first-team football jeopardised.[16] It was also reported that then-Manchester United head coach David Moyes targeted the Olympiacos defender as a replacement for Nemanja Vidić after confirming the latter's departure from Old Trafford at the end of 2013–14 season to Internazionale, 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.[17]

Manolas scored his first goal for Olympiacos in the 2013–14 UEFA Champions League in a 1–0 home win against Benfica, building the foundations for the next round.[18] He scored his second goal in the Champions League in a 2–1 away loss against Paris Saint-Germain,[19] though nonetheless the squad secured a spot in the round of 16—the first time the club had reached the stage since 2009–10—in matchup against Manchester United. With United failing to display their usual dominant domestic form that term, Manolas thought the Greek champions had what it takes to make the Champions League 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."[20] Despite winning the first leg 2–0 at home, Olympiacos fell as Manchester United's Robin van Persie hit a hat-trick in the return leg in Manchester to progress 3–2 on aggregate.[21]

On 22 March 2014, Manolas extended his contract with Olympiacos for another year, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2017.[22][23] He left Olympiakos having 73 appearances (6 goals, 2 assists) in all competitions.

Roma[edit]

2014–15 season[edit]

On 27 August 2014, Italian Serie A side Roma announced the signing of Manolas for an estimated fee of €15 million. Upon joining Roma, Manolas said, "I had offers from several big clubs, including Juve. But it was my decision to come here to Roma. I wanted to come to Roma. Lots of people told me good things. Their advice and my decision is what brought me here. The club has big goals. I want to win the Scudetto, as does the whole squad. We can also go far in the Champions League."[24]

On 30 August 2014, Manolas made his official debut for Roma as they beat Fiorentina 2–0 in the opening game of the 2014–15 Serie A season. On 17 September, he made his first European appearance with Roma in the Champions League as they cruised to an impressive 5–1 victory over CSKA Moscow.[25] On 5 October, Manolas was sent off in a match against Juventus for retaliating after being fouled by Álvaro Morata, who was sent off as well.[26] The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) subsequently banned Manolas for two games for his part in the altercation.[27]

Manolas' impressive first year with his club garnered interest from many other European sides, including Premier League giants Arsenal, though the player's agent, Mino Raiola, said that Manolas was not interested in discussing the rumours: "Kostas is a Roma player, and anyone who wants him will have to ask the club. All I can say is the lad has a contract until 2019. Roma paid a lot for him, and that means they have a lot of expectations for him."[28]

Manolas enjoyed an excellent first season in Serie A, cementing his place at the heart of manager Rudi García's defence as his side finished second in the league table. In the ensuing close season, Arsenal offered Roma £15 million for the player, whom they originally tried to sign last summer before being beaten by Roma.[29] On 19 June 2015, at the end of the season, Manolas, via a Roma fan poll, was named the club's "best purchase of the season" after capturing 56% of the vote, in front of the likes of Seydou Keita (18%) and Juan Iturbe (8%).[30]

2015–16 season[edit]

Manolas began the 2015–16 campaign as the de facto leader of the Roma defence. According to Tuttomercatoweb, Chelsea manager José Mourinho attempted to bring the Greek international to Stamford Bridge the previous season, and will try again in the New Year, with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur continuing their interest.[31] On 17 September 2015, after the 1–1 home draw against 2014–15 Champions League title holders Barcelona, Manolas praised his club's tactical performance: "We played a great game on a tactical level. We've been doing well in defence, and I think it’s an important step for the team," he told Sky Sports.[32] On 23 September, Roma's unbeaten start to the season ended after losing 2–1 away at Sampdoria, with Manolas scoring an own goal.[33]

On 26 September, Manolas scored his first goal in the 2015–16 Serie A as Roma comfortably defeated newly promoted side Carpi 5–1. He opened the scoring after netting Lucas Digne's clever assist with his right boot besides the challenge in the box from Carpi's Gabriel Silva.[34]

On 5 December, in a dramatic 1–1 away draw against Torino in domestic league action, Manolas brought down Andrea Belotti inside the area, whereupon Maxi López coolly converted the subsequent 94th-minute penalty kick. Despite replays suggesting the Greek defender may well have gotten the ball in the challenge, the referee nonetheless awarded the penalty.[35][36] On 11 December, towards the end of a Champions League match against Belarusians BATE Borisov, Manolas engaged in a quarrel with teammate Miralem Pjanić for mishandling a ball possession. As reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, the two players continued the fighting into the team's locker room.[37][38] On 17 February 2016, in a 1st leg UEFA Champions League game for the last 16, he was the indisputable leader of the defence, despite the 2-0 home loss from the Spanish giants Real Madrid.[39] Manolas closed down Karim Benzema quite well throughout the game. Most of the low crosses were taken care of well by him but he could do nothing about the two goals.[40] On 20 April 2015, in a match for Serie A, Manolas scored his second goal in the season, giving an assist in a glorious home win against Torino F.C. [41]

International career[edit]

Following a continued stretch of form from Manolas, former Greek national team manager Otto Rehhagel called Manolas up for the 30-man provisional World Cup squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, though 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. Leading up to the 2014 World Cup, Manolas' strong 2013–14 season with Olympiacos earned him a spot in manager Fernando Santos' final 23-man squad for the tournament.[42] It was in Brazil where the centre-back really caught the attention of the watching world, with a string of imperious displays that carried Greece into the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time in its history. He was named by The Independent as being among the 50 best players at the World Cup as the Greeks ultimately fell to Costa Rica.[43]

Career statistics[edit]

Club stats[edit]

As of match played 14 May 2016[44]
Club Season League Cup Continental* Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Thrasyvoulos 2008-09 6 0 - - - - 6 0
Total 6 0 - - - - 6 0
AEK 2009-10 10 1 1 0 - - 11 1
2010–11 27 1 3 1 6 1 36 3
2011–12 29 1 2 0 7 1 38 2
Total 66 3 6 1 13 2 85 6
Olympiacos 2012–13 24 1 6 0 7 0 37 1
2013–14 25 3 4 0 7 2 36 2
Total 49 4 10 0 14 2 73 3
Roma 2014–15 30 0 1 0 10 0 41 0
2015–16 37 2 - - 8 0 45 2
Total 67 2 1 0 18 0 86 2
Total 188 9 17 1 45 4 250 11

(* Includes UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League)

International[edit]

Greece national team
Year Apps Goals
2013 5 0
2014 13 0
2015 4 0
2016 1 0
Total 23 0

Honours[edit]

AEK Athens

Olympiacos

Style of playing[edit]

Manolas possesses the speed to keep track of smaller, quicker attackers while also possessing the strength needed to battle with more physical opponents. Without the ball, he is both assertive and attentive, never neglecting his defensive duties and always keen for a challenge. He is also a deceptively quick footballer, given his size, able to sweep up behind a high-line but also having the versatility and discipline to play deeper. Few players better combine the virtues of an old-fashioned centre-half with the modern need to build play from the back.[45][46]

Personal[edit]

In March 2016 Manolas announced that he is a fan of Olympiacos as there was ongoing debate between AEK and Olympiacos fans for years.[47]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 11 June 2014. p. 18. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  2. ^ AEK FC signs Manolas
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "K Manolas". Soccerway. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Atromitos vs. AEK Athens 0 - 3 (30 April 2011)". Soccerway. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Manolas signs new 3-year deal
  6. ^ European club interest in Manolas
  7. ^ Manolas buy-out clause
  8. ^ Manolas interview
  9. ^ Manolas praise
  10. ^ Manolas scored against Panionios
  11. ^ Moyes interview on Manolas
  12. ^ Everton agree on terms with AEK
  13. ^ Manolas declines Everton offer
  14. ^ "Olympiacos sign Kostas Manolas from debt-ridden AEK Athens". footballhellas.com. 3 July 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "Κυπελλούχος 2013 ο Ολυμπιακός!". epo.gr. 11 May 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  16. ^ "Tottenham, Sunderland and Fulham targeting Greek defender Kostas Manolas". express.co.uk. 27 September 2013. 
  17. ^ "Manchester United Target Olympiakos Defender as Nemanja Vidic Replacement". caughtoffside.com. 1 April 2014. 
  18. ^ "Olympiacos - Benfica 1-0". UEFA. 5 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Paris Saint Germain 2 - Olympiakos 1". 26 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "Manolas and Roberto ready for United test". uefa.com. 2014-02-25. 
  21. ^ "Man Utd 3 Olympiacos 0". theguardian.com. 2014-03-19. 
  22. ^ Νέο συμβόλαιο έως το 2017 ο Μανωλάς (in Greek). 22 March 2014. 
  23. ^ Ολυμπιακός : Ανανέωσε με Μανωλά έως το 2017 (in Greek). 22 March 2014. 
  24. ^ http://www.football-italia.net/54960/manolas-i-always-wanted-roma
  25. ^ http://us.soccerway.com/teams/italy/as-roma/1241/matches/
  26. ^ Sheringham, Sam (5 October 2014). "Juventus 3-2 Roma". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  27. ^ http://forzaitalianfootball.com/2014/10/roma-and-juventus-both-fined-for-fan-behaviour-in-fiery-fixture/
  28. ^ Manolas agent: ’Arsenal? Ask Roma…’
  29. ^ Arsenal ‘offered fresh hope of pushing through £15million Kostas Manolas transfer’ Retrieved 10 April 2015
  30. ^ Roma awards:E Manolas il miglior acquisto della stagione
  31. ^ Report: Chelsea to make January bid for Roma defender Kostas Manolas Retrieved 21 September 2015
  32. ^ Manolas: ’Barça an important step’ Retrieved 18 September 2015
  33. ^ Sampdoria – Roma 2-1: decide un clamoroso autogoal di Manolas Retrieved 23 September 2015
  34. ^ Roma 5 - 1 Carpi Retrieved 26 September 2015
  35. ^ Torino 1 - 1 Roma Retrieved 5 December 2015
  36. ^ Torino 1 - 1 Roma Retrieved 5 December 2015
  37. ^ Nervosismo tra Pjanic e Manolas al termine di Roma-BATE Retrieved 11 December 2015
  38. ^ Scintille in casa Roma: lite tra Manolas e Pjanic nel dopo BATE Retrieved 11 December 2015
  39. ^ "Τοίχος" ο Μανωλάς, κορυφαίος της Ρόμα Retrieved 18 February 2016
  40. ^ AS Roma 0-2 Real Madrid: Player Ratings Retrieved 18 February 2016
  41. ^ Τεράστια ανατροπή με Τότι η Ρόμα Retrieved 20 April 2016
  42. ^ "Greece World Cup 2014 squad". telegraph.co.uk. 19 May 2014. 
  43. ^ "World Cup 2014: The 50 best players of the World Cup". independent.co.uk. 
  44. ^ "Manolas". Soccerway. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  45. ^ Kostas Manolas: The Roma rock being eyed up by Chelsea Retrieved 2 October 2015
  46. ^ Kostas Manolas: Greece’s defensive star adapting seamlessly to the rigours of Serie A Retrieved 19 June 2015
  47. ^ http://www.sport-fm.gr/article/podosfairo/manwlas-se-opado-tis-aek-eimai-olumpiakara/3154456

External links[edit]