Lazio teenage midfielder Joseph Minala accused of being 41 years old

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Lazio are threatening to take anyone to court who challenges the age of their Cameroon player Joseph Minala. According to the Serie A club, the player is 17 years old but Senagalese media outlets are claiming that he's actually 41.

The Serie A side have released his birth certificate in an effort to quash the rumours and to show that their claim is “absolutely legitimate.” The club’s official statement on the issue said: “We reserve the right to take action against those responsible for the protection of the good name of the company and the footballer.”

The player himself has been questioned on social media sites after posting pictures that suggest that he’s not a teenager. In our picture he’s shown with Udinese striker Antonio Di Natale and we think he looks older than the 36 years old forward so we can see where these rumours have come from.

The midfield player has also issues a statement through the club’s official site denying that he told senego.net that he’s in his forties.

"I have read the alleged statements posted on the website senego.net in which it says I confessed my real age which was different to what was stated in my [official] documents. They are false statements that have been attributed to me by people who do not know.”

Age fraud in association football is an issue that European clubs have been facing for years, as players come from the four corners of the world without the necessary paperwork to show their age or they give a false age to a European club’s scout in an effort to increase their chances of being signed by a major side. We don’t think that’s the case with Minala, as these players normally lower their age by a handful of years.

Minala joined the Rome-based club in the summer and has played for their youth side in the Viareggio Cup.

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