Manolas on the Scudetto, Juve, and the Champions League


Roma defender Kostas Manolas spoke with Il Tempo journalist Alessandro Austini, here are his words:

Garcia is convinced: you will win the Scudetto. Do you agree?
Of course. This is our goal. We put that in our minds from the beginning and now we believe even more. We are aware that we’re a great team that really isn’t missing anything.

Juventus-Roma: everyone has spoken. Now to you…
It was only a bitter moment for me that lasted only temporarily. I only regret not having won. Everything else, Morata’s ball, the referee, and the controversy does not interest me. It’s just the past. From that day on, we’ve continued to work like before. My teammates were great against Chievo, now we’re thinking of Bayern.

Morata looked scared (of you)…
The life of the defender is always hard. I’m not sure I needed this incident to prove it. I repeat: I’m only interested in winning, that’s it.

Fans are proud of your reaction to the Spaniard’s challenge: have you seen the sticker dedicated to you?
Yes … no comment.

And to think you could’ve become a Juventus player…
It’s the truth, Juventus sought me out after the World Cup. I could’ve also ended up at Arsenal, but I never went to London, as I said. But now, for me, there is only Roma. And I’m very happy to have come here.

The next opponent is named Benatia: is this another incentive?
The past does not matter, it won’t be a match betwee me and him: forget comparisons. Personally, from the very first day, I’ve felt the confidence of Rudi Garcia and the club.

Last year, the Moroccan promised repeatedly that he would stay for a long time. Will Manolas stay?
Words don’t matter, but I hope to play many years in Rome because this club is at the height of my ambition.

Can you beat Bayern?
It will be a difficult match against one of the best teams in Europe. On our side we will have a full stadium, the Olimpico is fantastic, I was excited from the very first minute that I played against Fiorentina. I don’t know how it will end with Bayern, but it’s surely going to be a challenge that shouldn’t be missed.

You former teammates at Olympiacos will host Juve in Athens on Wednesday. What do you expect?
Winning at the Piraeus is not easy for anyone. The Bianconeri will understand this.

There are three Greeks, an Italian, a Frenchman, an Englishman, and two Brazilians in Roma’s defense. It sounds like a joke instead of a defense in Rome. How do you all communicate on the field?
It’s simple: we use a common language.

What would it be (the language you use to talk)?
Greek! (Laughs). What else?!

Have you also taught Totti?
I don’t exaggerate, Totti is really a great captain.

It is true that Torosidis was the driving force (to coming to Rome)?
Of course not! Seriously, though, I have spoken with him many times before arriving to Trigoria, but I knew a lot about Roma since I played with Vasilis, I have not lost my game. There was no need to get to learn about the team since Roma has always been popular in Greece. Also, players like Couthos, Dellas and Tachtsidis two years ago have already come through here (Rome).

What can we expect from Holebas?
A fast player, aggressive, with three years of experience in the Champions League. I’ll leave it to Sabatini to say the rest.

By the way, do you know if the sporting director has followed you for a long time?
He told me that he has studied my game for three years and just last summer, he thought I was ready to make a big leap and play for Roma. Better late than never!

Tell us about the time you scored with a fractured skull…
After a fight with Mitroglu, I returned to the field for 15 minutes and I scored. Then my head was spinning and I had to leave. I had an operation, they inserted plates and screws to reduce the fracture. Fortunately, they (the screws and plates) were removed a few months later.

What do you think of Garcia?
A very competent manager, knowledgeable, who relates to all of us in different ways depending on our individual needs. He makes sure that each player is understood 120%.

How about the city of Rome, Manolas?
It’s very nice, I’m finding out about it with my girlfriend. But I’m not here to be a tourist.