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Former AC Milan player Taribo West is '12 years older than he claims'

Former manager says the retired Nigerian international is already in his 50s

Former Nigeria international Taribo West is 12 years older than he claims to be, according to former Partizan Belgrade president Zarko Zecevic.

The Serb alleges that defender West, officially listed as 39, has in fact already passed the age of 50.

West joined current Serbian SuperLiga champions Partizan in 2002 after spells at both Milan clubs and Derby County, and left to continue his career in Qatar two years later. He then went on to make four appearances for Plymouth Argyle during the 2005/06 season, before finishing his career at Iranian club Paykan Tehran.

“He joined us saying he was 28. We only later found out he was 40, but he was still playing well so I don’t regret having him on the team,”' said Zecevic.

If Zecevic’s bizarre and astonishing claims are indeed correct, West would have been a staggering 46-years-old when he finally decided to hang up his boots in 2007.

Such implications may cast doubt upon Nigeria’s Olympic gold-medal winning performance in the 1996 Atlanta Games. West was an important member of that successful young side, but, according to Zecevic’s calculations, he may actually have been 34-years-old rather than the 22-years-old people believed.