Kostas Manolas has been a vital part of the Roma defense since his arrival from Olympiacos 4 years ago. He has been a revelation defensively for this Roma team Roma became a much stronger defensive team when he joined Roma every year since he has been here Roma’s have improved each season. He is widely regarded as one of the best defenders an Italian football and you can make the argument that he’s one of the best at his position in World football. Kostas Manolas only has ever scored a few goals for Roma being a Defender the opportunity to score does not come all that often. However on the 10th of April during the quarter finals of the Champions League second-leg at the Stadio Olimpico against Barcelona he scored the most important goal in Roma’s history. The most iconic goal that has ever been scored in the Roma shirt on the biggest stage against Leo Messi’s Barcelona in the game in which Roma joint an historic group as one of the greatest comebacks in champions league history. After winning the group a death in the Champions League the Romans faced off and defeated After Shakhtar Donetsk in the round of 16 of the Champions League sending the Ukrainian champions home. With Edin Dzeko scoring the winning goal of that two-legged affair that saw Roma make their first Champions League quarter-finals in 10 years. Roma ended up drawing arguably the most difficult matchup they possibly could have gotten. In the quarterfinals they would be forced to go up against the mighty Barcelona which features the world best player Leo Messi. In the first leg Roma scored two own goals and despite that Roma was outplaying Barcelona on most accounts they lost 4-1 with Edin Dzeko scoring a late goal to give Roma some kind of Hope of a comeback. In the second leg against Barcelona at the Stadio Olimpico Roma would pull off one of the biggest comebacks in champions league history needing a 3-0 victory over Barcelona to Advance to the semi-finals. Roma made history that night and one of the most historical nights in Rome we have ever seen. Edin Dzeko scored in the early goal that was followed up by a De Rossi penalty that gave Roma and opportunity to make history. Kostas Manolas coming off a corner hit by Roma young star Cengiz Under as Manolas put his head through a ball off the corner to send the entire Stadium into celebration and emotion as even Manolas failed to keep it in as he nearly cried during his celebration. The announcer shouted ” Roma have risen from their ruins” which still do this day gives me chills. After Manolas scored a beautiful header past Tersteegen. Roma would ultimately hold on to pull off one of the greatest Champions League comebacks we’ve ever seen especially given the difference in quality between them. Roma knocked out Barcelona to go to their first semi finals in over 30 years. Roma eventually went out to Liverpool in the Champions League Semis and they almost came back from a huge deficit again falling one goal short of the ultimate miracle. The hero from that night was Kostas Manolas who will forever be in Roma’s hearts and their history books for the most iconic goal and Roma’s history. As a fan of Roma it was honestly one of the best days of my entire life Kostas Manolas the Greek International gave us a reason to believe again in a night that will never be forgotten. The Roman hero revealed some of the secrets and his thoughts on that night then made him God of Rome for that night. Kostas Manolas spoke to Greek Outlet sport24.gr here are some of the secrets and behind-the-scenes scoop of that historic night in Rome according to The Greek God himself.
“What a night that was,” Manolas said. “When you score the third goal, against Barcelona, to reach the Champions League semi-finals, in a game you entered already behind… To think that we had just lost the first game 4-1, and had to face Messi, Suarez and others again. What can you say? And yet…
“As soon as we walked in and saw them, and then especially the first ten minutes of the game, I believed in [the comeback] so much. I felt that Barcelona were too relaxed, while we were in very good shape. From the first person to the last.
“Before the game, in the locker room, there were some who believed it: I will tell you the truth, I did not believe it before the game. I never believed it. To think that you will 3-0 against Barcelona? You have to be mad. But the match started, we scored an early goal, we were fighting like lions. When we made it 2-0 I was sure we would qualify.
“After we had the second goal, after about 79 minutes we were standing in the middle of the pitch and I turned to my defensive partner [Federico] Fazio and said, ‘We are going to score – and you or I will be the ones to do it.’ And if you do not believe me, you can ask him. In the end it was me that did it. But this conversation happened out there on the pitch. I told him. I felt it was coming.”
“The goal itself? At that moment I was convinced we would score,” he added. “When Under went to take the corner, I remembered that the first one he took did not make it beyond the near post.
“I knew it would come in a bit low. So that’s why I made that run. I knew his ball would be a bit short into the near post. I usually never make my run to the near post. But that time I did, I got my head on it and the ball sailed in.”
He added: “I celebrated that moment but it was still only 82 minutes in the game, we had to keep them out. I felt like it was the biggest chance of my life. That’s why I got my head together and we got the defence organised again. Imagine letting them through with a mistake or an own goal after all that!
“At the final whistle, yes I cried. It was the intensity of it all. It’s an incredible thing to see 80,000 Roma fans celebrating, hugging, kissing, crying… I was floored.”
“I knew I was important to Roma when the time came to renew my contract,” he noted. “I understood it from a conversation I had with Francesco Totti and Monchi.
“I wanted to talk to Totti, because we always had a good relationship. So we talked, and I realized that the club really wanted me too.
“They showed from the beginning they wanted me to stay. They trusted me. Then, when I signed the contract, Totti came over and gave me a kick in the backside!” “Roma is special because of the supporters,” he said. “I have never seen fans like it before. I have never seen such love for a team. When the team is not doing well, everything is difficult. When the team does well, you are a God. And that is football.
“When it comes to love for a team, the Italians are incomparable.”