Kostas Manolas Slams Malcom After Brazilian Snubbed Roma for Barcelona Transfer

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 31, 2018

ROME, ITALY - MAY 02: Konstantinos Manolas of AS Roma during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Second Leg match between A.S. Roma and Liverpool at Stadio Olimpico on May 2, 2018 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

AS Roma defender Kostas Manolas has criticised Malcom after the winger reneged on an agreement with the Serie A club to join Barcelona, saying he wasn't even aware of who the player was. 

Manolas was speaking to the press before Tuesday's 2018 International Champions Cup clash with Barca in Dallas and said it was better that the former Bordeaux star moved to the Camp Nou instead of the Stadio Olimpico:

"I don't know who he is, I don't know him.

"Before he signed for Barcelona, even he didn't know his name.

"There is no reason to say hello. He didn't want to go to Roma, it is better that he goes to Barcelona."

Marca detailed that Malcom had agreed a deal to join the Giallorossi, only to abandon those plans and move to Catalonia instead after learning the Blaugrana were serious in their interest.

The former Brazil under-20 international made his Barca debut as a half-time substitute in Saturday's ICC win over Tottenham Hotspur, where he scored the decisive spot kick in a 5-3 shootout win after the game finished 2-2 over 90 minutes:

FC Barcelona @FCBarcelona

💪🏃👏 Intense debut for @clement_lenglet, @arthurhromelo and #Malcom! 🙌⚽😝 https://t.co/xVhkFbXcnh

That appearance in Pasadena offered a taster of the talent Roma missed out on, although the Giallorossi have conducted other fine business this summer by signing the likes of Justin Kluivert, Javier Pastore and Ante Coric.

Greece international Manolas joined Roma from Olympiakos in the summer of 2014 as a replacement for Medhi Benatia, who had joined Bayern Munich at the time, and he's developed into a respected member of the squad.

Now 27, the centre-back is the Giallorossi's enforcer and holds a more senior status at the Olimpico, evidenced by his tough-love approach to helping his new team-mates settle in this summer:

AS Roma English @ASRomaEN

Kostas Manolas is ready to help all the new faces settle in... as long as they are all ready to work hard 😠 #ASRoma #Trigoria2018 https://t.co/Yd6YipCeI0

Talented though Malcom is—he scored 12 goals and recorded seven assists in 35 Ligue 1 appearances last season—Manolas is within his rights to not miss a player who wasn't committed to the Roma project.

Similarly, one perhaps can't blame the 21-year-old for opting to join La Liga's runaway champions ahead of a side that finished third in Serie A, despite Roma's run to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Pre-season may ultimately count for little in terms of the effect it has on the campaign's results, but Tuesday's meeting between Roma and Barca will be seen as a chance for Malcom to prove he made the right decision.

And despite still being in the infancy of his Blaugrana tenure, Malcom earned plaudits from commentator Ray Hudson after showing positive signs early on after his move:

Ray Hudson @RayHudson

#Malcom looks ready,even playing with the kids....wound up tighter then an eight day clock.👍🏻

Both Barca and Roma are coming to the end of their pre-season schedules with the campaign just around the corner, and we may see sparks fly in Dallas on Tuesday when Manolas greets Malcom at the AT&T Stadium.