Manolas warming-up for Roma in 2014
|Full name||Konstantinos Manolas|
|Date of birth||14 June 1991|
|Place of birth||Naxos, Greece|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 24 May 2015.
Konstantinos "Kostas" Manolas (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος "Κώστας" Μανωλάς, born 14 June 1991) is a Greek footballer who plays for Roma and the Greek national team. He is the nephew of Greek football legend Stelios Manolas.
Kostas Manolas started his youth career at Thrasyvoulos in 2007. 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.
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. 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.
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 AEL in the Greek Cup, (AEK Athens would later go on to win the Greek Cup). His impressive performances convinced then AEK Athens coach Manolo Jiménez 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. 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.
On 11 July 2011, Manolas signed a new 3-year deal with AEK Athens keeping him at the club until 2014. 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. Manolas agreed with AEK Athens on €4.M buy-out clause for foreign teams and a €10.M buy-out clause for Greek teams.
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."
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 Jiménez. 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 Jiménez who had been taking criticism in recent weeks. 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 ". On 30/1/12, it was said that AEK Athens and Everton had agreed on terms to sell Manolas to Everton. 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 Juan Cala. AEK Athens chairman Stavros Adamidis, stated "It was Manolas who declined the offer, not AEK".
On 1 July 2012, Manolas joined 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. 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 UEFA Europa League that season by the Hellenic Football Federation, with their place taken by Asteras Tripoli.
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. Manolas made 24 appearances for Olympiacos in the league that season, helping them win the Superleague. 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.
Reports in Greece suggested that Tottenham, Sunderland and Fulham were all keeping an eye on the Olympiakos defender 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' 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. It was also reported that then Manchester United head coach David Moyes targeted the Olympiakos defender as a Nemanja Vidić 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.
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. He scored his second goal in the UEFA Champions League in a 2-1 away loss against Paris Saint-Germain F.C. 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. With the Red Devils failing to display their usual dominant domestic form that term, Olimpiakos defender 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. 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.
On 27 August 2014, 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."
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, Manolas made his first European appearance with Roma in the Champions League as they cruised to an impressive 5-1 victory over CSKA Moscow.  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. The Italian football federation subsequently banned Manolas for two games due to his altercation with Morata. 
The impressive first year with the club, creates an interest for many other clubs. The agent of Roma's defender is not interested in discussing rumoured Arsenal interest. Reports in the Italian media have linked the Greek centre-back with a move to the English Premier League side, but his agent says any suitors would have to speak to Roma first. “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.”, he explained to the journalists.
With the end of the season, the club has promoted the Roma's Giallorossi Awards through the various social networks. The Roma fans had a chance to vote for different categories, among them one of the most important is surely the one on the best buy for the 2014-15 season. On 19 June 2015, Roma have published the results of the survey in question: according to 56% of the Roma fans, Kostas Manolas deserves the award for best purchase for the season, followed by Seydou Keita (18%), and Juan Iturbe(8%).
Manolas has enjoyed an excellent season in Serie A and has cemented his place at the heart of Rudi Garcia’s defence. As a consequence of his season, Arsenal have been offered fresh hope of pushing through a £15 million transfer for Roma centre-back. The Gunners had previously tried to secure the Greek defender’s signature last summer, but were beaten to the signing by Roma. Arsenal have reportedly made an enquiry over a possible transfer move for Roma’s Kostas Manolas. The Gunners have requested information about the Greek defender from his agent Mino Raiola while the player is on holiday, according to reports in Italy.
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. He was named by The Independent as being among the 50 best players in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
- "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 11 June 2014. p. 18. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- AEK FC signs Manolas
- "K Manolas". Soccerway. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- "Atromitos vs. AEK Athens 0 - 3 (30 April 2011)". Soccerway. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- Manolas signs new 3-year deal
- European club interest in Manolas
- Manolas buy-out clause
- Manolas interview
- Manolas praise
- Manolas scored against Panionios
- Moyes interview on Manolas
- Everton agree on terms with AEK
- Manolas declines Everton offer
- "Olympiacos sign Kostas Manolas from debt-ridden AEK Athens". footballhellas.com. 3 July 2012.
- "Κυπελλούχος 2013 ο Ολυμπιακός!". epo.gr. 11 May 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- "Tottenham, Sunderland and Fulham targeting Greek defender Kostas Manolas". express.co.uk. 27 September 2013.
- "Manchester United Target Olympiakos Defender as Nemanja Vidic Replacement". caughtoffside.com. 1 April 2014.
- "Olympiacos - Benfica 1-0". UEFA. 5 November 2013.
- "Paris Saint Germain 2 - Olympiakos 1". 26 November 2013.
- "Manolas and Roberto ready for United test". uefa.com. 2014-02-25.
- "Man Utd 3 Olympiacos 0". theguardian.com. 2014-03-19.
- Νέο συμβόλαιο έως το 2017 ο Μανωλάς (in Greek). 22 March 2014.
- Ολυμπιακός : Ανανέωσε με Μανωλά έως το 2017 (in Greek). 22 March 2014.
- Sheringham, Sam (5 October 2014). "Juventus 3-2 Roma". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Manolas agent: ’Arsenal? Ask Roma…’
- Roma awards:E Manolas il miglior acquisto della stagione
- Arsenal ‘offered fresh hope of pushing through £15million Kostas Manolas transfer’ Retrieved 10 April 2015
- Arsenal ‘make enquiry over transfer of Roma’s Kostas Manolas’ Retrieved 8 July 2015
- "Greece World Cup 2014 squad". telegraph.co.uk. 19 May 2014.
- "World Cup 2014: The 50 best players of the World Cup". independent.co.uk.