Lazio officials today were forced to quell reports that their new signing Joseph Minala was in fact aged 41 rather than 17 which was claimed on an African website.
The club has threatened legal action against anyone who questions their new midfielder's age. The Italian side have staunchly refuted the accusations and claim the player's birth certificate is "absolutely legitimate".
The player has also come out and reasserted his age by claiming the statements senego.net to be false and "have been attributed to me by people who do not know". Minala, who joined Lazio last summer, recently played in the Viareggio cup youth tournament. So far this season Minala has scored five goals and provided six assists for the club's youth team, who are national champions.
Italian journalist Max Evangelista has supported the club and player by saying "You could never say he is 41". The player's 'weathered face', he claims is be down to his tough upbringing in an orphanage in Cameroon and his face is reminiscent of "his previous life, which was not a happy life.'
'He is a kid with the head of a kid. He only wants to play football as he did on the road years ago barefoot. That is the only thing he is focused on and being a talent because he is a talent.'
via: BBC Sport