Lazio were forced to release official documents and threaten legal action to prove a youth team player was still a teenager and not in his 40s.
Joseph Marie Minala, 17, came in for abuse on social networking sites after releasing a picture showing him looking much older than his teenage years. Quotes also appeared in Senegalese media that said Minala was 41.
The Italian club and Minala’s agent rubbished claims that he was a cheat, producing the paper work to prove he was the correct age.
VIDEO Scroll down to see Joseph Minala playing for Lazio in U-20 match against Napoli
Age row: Lazio have threatened legal action after a youth team player, 17-year-old Joseph Minala was accused of being in his 40s. The club and his agent issued a statement rubbishing the claims
Documents: The club released official documents after Minala was the subject of abuse because of pictures he released on social networking sites – Minala has now deleted his Instagram and Facebook accounts
In action: The Cameroonian joined Lazio in December and has impressed for their youth team
In the dressing room: Minala alongside some of his Lazio youth team team-mates
‘Lazio denounce this latest attempt from hostile figures to throw a sinister light on this club,’ said a club statement.
‘We reserve the right to take action against those responsible for the protection of the good name of the company and the footballer.’
The Cameroonian attacking midfielder joined the Roman giants in December and has impressed at youth level.
Goalscoring great: Minala pictured with Udinese hitman Antonio Di Natale
Digs: Minala in his dormitory
Triallist: Minala had spells at Napoli and Inter before joining the Romans
He said: ‘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.’
Minala has had to block photos on his Instagram account and delete his Facebook profile because of the abuse he got over the pictures.
Defence: Minala’s agent said the player looks older because of a ‘difficult’ childhood
Storm: He was forced to delete his Instagram and Facebook accounts, but remains on Twitter
His agent, Diego Tavano, told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport: ‘He had a difficult time growing up. If you talk to him you’ll realise he is in every way a 17-year-old lad.’
Minala still has a Twitter account and after the age storm sent the following message: ‘Envy is the weakness of man, and those with a poor soul hurt others when you are in Serie A. Love you! Forza Lazio.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2558313/Lazio-threaten-legal-action-claims-teenage-star-actually-40s.html#ixzz2tCUYiW6x
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