Lazio's Joseph Minala confirmed as 17
The Italian Football Association (FIGC) has brought an end to all doubt about the age of Lazio's youth-team player Joseph Minala by confirming that he is indeed 17.
The Cameroonian midfielder made the headlines in February after appearing on the bench for the Biancocelesti's derby clash with Roma having impressed in the youth team. Photos of the youngster went viral with allegations he was in fact older than claimed.
Minala tried to end the conjecture in an interview back in April, in which he affirmed that he was born on August 24, 1996, but doubts still persisted, prompting the FIGC to intervene and examine the player's paperwork.
The body has now ruled that everything is in order and that Minala is indeed 17.
"Having examined the details of the investigation, the federal prosecutor has closed an inquiry into the actual age of the footballer Joseph Marie Minala, under contract with S.S. Lazio since Dec. 2, 2014, because there is no evidence [of malpractice] which can be subject to disciplinary proceedings," read an FIGC statement.
Until the final day of the season, the midfielder had been the youngest player to appear in Serie A last season, having made his debut against Sampdoria.
That record was subsequently taken by Federico Bonazzoli when he appeared for Inter Milan in their 2-1 defeat to Chievo, just three days short of his 17th birthday.