Lazio have responded to allegations that 17-year old youth team member, Joseph Minala, is actually 41-years old by threatening legal action against those who question the legitimacy of his age.
The Italian side’s fury comes after the website senego.net claimed Minala told them that he was actually 41-years old.
On Thursday, Minala issued a statement through Lazio’s website denying the story.
“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.”
Italian journalist Max Evangelista, who reports on Lazio’s youth team, has rushed to Minala’s defense explaining that the youngster’s look was advanced by a difficult childhood.
“He was in an orphanage for a couple of years in Cameroon, then he had to face the situation here by himself,” he told BBC World Service. “It is a controversial story because the face of the player is not that of a 17-year-old guy. On his face there is sign of his previous life, which was not a happy life. That is it. Period. There is nothing else that makes you think he is 41.
“He is a kid with the head of a kid. He only wants to play football as he did on the road years ago barefoot. That is the only thing he is focused on and being a talent because he is a talent.”
Credit to both Evangelista, for coming forward with such strong-worded backing of the young Cameroonian, and the club who have threatened legal action.
Minala, a midfielder, has scored five goals and recorded six assists this season for Lazio’s youth team.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined Paris Saint-Germain in 2012, and he is already the club’s all-time leading scorer.
After scoring both of PSG’s goals in a 2-1 win over Marseille today, Zlatan’s tally is up to 110 goals for the club, eclipsing Pauleta’s mark of 109. However, Pauleta needed 79 more matches to reach that number.
Zlatan has scored at a blistering pace since moving to Paris, having seasons of 35, 41, and 30 goals in his first three years at the club. Early into his fourth season with PSG, he has four goals through seven matches.
Not only has Zlatan achieved great success individually during his time at Parc des Princes, the club has dominated French football during his tenure.
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Since Zlatan moved to Paris in 2012, the club has won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles, two League Cups, and one French Cup. During that time, Zlatan was twice named Ligue 1 Player of the Year and won two Golden Boots as the league’s top scorer.
Zlatan’s contract with PSG is up at the end of this season, and it has been long suspected that he will move on and join a new club next summer. Despite turning 34 earlier this month, Zlatan has proven his is still one of the world’s elite goalscorers, and will have his choice of clubs should he leave PSG.
Luciano Vietto scored with less than ten minutes to play to earn a draw for Atletico Madrid against their crosstown rivals Real.
Karim Benzema had given Real Madrid an early lead, heading home a cross from Dani Carvajal in the ninth minute. While Cristiano Ronaldo may get all the headlines, Benzema has been superb for Real, scoring six goals in seven La Liga matches this season.
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Atletico had a golden opportunity to draw level in the 22nd minute when the hosts were awarded a penalty, but Keylor Navas made a brilliant save to deny Antoine Griezmann, keeping Real ahead.
Still trailing 1-0, Diego Simeone made a substitution for Atletico in the 58th minute, bringing in Luciano Vietto for some added strength on the attack. It was the 21-year-old’s first taste of a Madrid derby, and he proved to be ready for the pressure.
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With the clock winding down, Jackson Martinez played a cross in from the left wing, and after a slight scramble in the box, the young Vietto cleaned up the scraps to level the score in the 83rd minute.
The result leaves Real Madrid second in La Liga, one point behind leaders Villarreal, while Atletico sits fifth, three points off the leaders.