One of the top Italian football clubs, Lazio, had to officially defend its 17-year-old midfielder, Joseph Minala, to prove his actual age was not 41.
Minala caused a stir this week because of his appearance after being one of the youngest players in recent years to be promoted to the Lazio first-team.
He was subject of abuse on social media, with many claiming he was an age cheat, who is in fact much older than 17. Manila received tons of questions after posting the image below on his Instagram:
Minala’s agent has rubbished the claims, but quotes have emerged in the Senegal press suggesting that the player has admitted that he is 41 – and will turn 42 in August.
They claim that the starlet confessed to a reporter that he has been lying in order to earn money to send back to his family in Cameroon.
However, Lazio have now moved to end the age speculation by publishing his official documents on their website, with the club insisting that his registration proves that he is really 17.