What happened to Joseph Minala - Lazio's 17-year-old who was believed to be 42


Many of you will be familiar with the name, Joseph Minala.

You’ll certainly be familiar with the picture of him in his Lazio kit.

If you don’t know the story, the 17-year-old signed for the Italian club back in 2014 but he was accused of actually being 42-years-old.

An African football website suggested that the Cameroonian midfielder was 25 years older than he was claiming - something that led to an official investigation from the Italian Football Association.

But the youngster was cleared and on April 4, 2014, was making his debut for the Italian club at the age of just 17, wearing the number nine shirt.

Back in 2018, we provided an update into what had happened to him since.

And after hearing his name mentioned on the Football Ramble this week, it reminded us of the rather unique story and got us thinking: Where is he now?

Well, after making three Serie A appearances during the 2013/14 campaign when he was just 17, Minala has been out on loan to a variety of Serie B clubs including Bari and Latina.

He spent three consecutive seasons at Salernitana with the club having the option to sign him permanently. However, following last season, they opted not to take up that option.


He returned to Lazio but, in December, went out on loan to Chinese club Qingdao Huanghai.

He’s now 23-years-old - although someone has mischievously changed his Wikipedia to say 43.

In truth, it seems Minala is failing to fulfil the incredible potential everyone thought he had at an early age - especially considering his impressive physique.


He only managed two caps for Cameroon’s U23s - the last of which coming back in 2015.

His contract at Lazio expires in the summer of 2021 and it would be a surprise if I Biancocelesti decide to extend his stay at Stadio Olimpico.

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