Real Madrid or Barcelona could tempt Roma star



The Greece international is not looking for a move, having signed a new contract in Italy, but admits La Liga giants would be tough to turn down

Kostas Manolas has a €36 million (£32m/$42m) release clause in his contract and admits he could be tempted to leave Roma if Real Madrid or Barcelona come calling.

The Greece international committed to fresh terms in the Italian capital last season, with that deal set to take him through to 2022.

He insists he is not looking for a way out, but concedes that La Liga giants would be difficult to turn down – even if Roma icon Francesco Totti was able to do so during his distinguished career.

Manolas told Gazzetta dello Sport: “If a club like Real Madrid or Barcelona were to come along, apart from Francesco Totti who turned them down, I think everyone would think about it.

“We’d then have to evaluate the conditions, because I can assure you that it’s not easy for anyone to leave Roma.

“Totti was fundamental in convincing me to stay. I spoke to him more than I did [director of sport] Monchi.

“I don’t feel like a leader and I am not the captain. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been here for many years. We are all the same in the locker room. Now talented young players have arrived and they need our help. All I can pledge is that I’ll give my all.”

Manolas also claims that he could shun a switch away from Roma even if a suitor agreed to meet his buyout fee.

It would take a special challenge to lure him away from Stadio Olimpico and, despite sparking plenty of transfer talk, would be happy to leave any exit call in the hands of his current club – with a number of potential moves having already been turned down.

The 27-year-old defender added: “I renewed my contract and I think I deserved it. I could’ve left two or three times last season, but I didn’t do it and I had my best campaign here.

“I’ve never been asked to remove the clause. In any case, I don’t think the clause is that low. Football prices have gone through the roof and beyond normality, so if Roma consider it inadequate as a sum, they can call me to discuss it.

“I had been very close to Zenit St Petersburg, but I saw the figures were all in Rubles. I asked them to change it to dollars and they refused. When they changed their minds days later, I’d already made my decision. It was destiny.”

Manolas has been with Roma since 2014 and is into his fifth season with the club.

If he manages to steer clear of injuries and remain a regular, then he should pass the 200-appearance mark for the Giallorossi at some stage in the current campaign.