Joseph Minala: Lazio insist African striker is 17, despite rumours he is actually 41
The club have been forced to prove that he is still a teenager and threaten legal action against anyone who questions the age of their striker
Lazio have threatened to take legal action against anyone who questions the legitimacy of the age of their 17-year-old Cameroonian forward Joseph Minala, after the club were forced to release documents to prove he is still a teenager, and not in his forties.
The player, who was called up to the Lazio first team for the first time for last Sunday's Rome derby, appears far older than his years, and has had to deny that he told a website that he was really 41, saying: "It's false statements that have been attributed to me by people who do not know and for whom I reserve every action of damage."
The player, who joined the Serie A side last summer, shut down most of his social media accounts following abuse over his appearance. He blocked photos on his Instagram account, deleted his Facebook profile and filtered out Twitter pictures of himself, although he does still tweet.
In a bid to put an end to the speculation, a statement on Lazio's website said that they will: "confirm the absolute legitimacy of the paperwork filed with the federation and denounce the latest attempts, from hostile domains, to cast a sinister light over the club's operations.
"From now on, [the club] announces that it will take any action aimed at ending such behaviour out of respect for the fans and the player while reserving the right to take action against anybody responsible [for such behaviour] to defend the good name of the club and the footballer."
Minala's agent, Diego Tavano told La Gazzetta dello Sport on Wednesday: "If you talk to him, then you realise from the way he speaks that he's still absolutely a 17-year-old lad. Joseph had a difficult childhood, that's the issue."
Latest in Sport
Chelsea vs Tottenham combined XI: Hugo Lloris or Thibaut Courtois? Willian or Christian Eriksen? Who makes the final cut?
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Eden Hazard exclusive interview - All is rosy in the garden of Eden
Arsenal vs Monaco: Theo Walcott 'involved in spat' with fans after Champions League defeat
Carl Frampton vs Chris Avalos; Tyson Fury vs Christian Hammer; Dmitry Chudinov vs Chris Eubank Jr - boxing on TV this weekend
Robbie Savage avoids driving ban - because he would get 'accosted' too much if he had to use public transport
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East