Many of you will remember the name Joseph Minala.
If you don’t, let us tell you his incredibly bizarre story.
The Cameroonian footballer made headlines in 2013 when he signed for Lazio at the age of 17. However, he was immediately accused of being 42.
There can be no denying that Minala looked very mature for someone born in 1996. However, that led to people wrongly accusing him of lying about his age.
An African football website even suggested that the midfielder was 25 years older than he was (42-years-old). This actually led to an official investigation from the Italian Football Association.
However, in April 2014, he was cleared of any wrongdoing and Minala could continue with his football career.
Now the legal battle was over, Minala looked to fulfil his incredible potential and made his Serie A debut at the age of 17.
Big things were expected of him.
But despite making three appearances at the end of the 2013/14 campaign for Lazio, his career hasn’t panned out the way he was hoping.
He was loaned out to several Serie B clubs including Bari and Latina before spending three consecutive seasons at Salernitana. Despite playing 67 times for the club in Serie B, they opted not to take the option of a permanent deal and Minala went back to Lazio.
Chinese Super League club Qingdao Huanghai offered him a loan deal for the 2020 season. However, the midfielder’s luck didn’t really change as he played 15 times in the league as the side finished 7th out of eight teams.
At the end of his loan in China in January 2021, Minala once again returned to Lazio and his contract ended at the end of the 2020/21 campaign.
What next for Minala?
Well, after spending the first few months without a club, Minala signed for Serie C side, Lucchese, earlier this week.
“La Lucchese 1905 officially announces that it has acquired the right to sports performances from Joseph Marie Minala, Cameroonian midfielder, born in 1996,” said the club.
Perhaps leaving Lazio where he became headline news is the best solution for Minala. He’s clearly found it difficult to deal with the spotlight on him at such a young age.
At the age of 25, let’s hope he can get his career back on track at Lucchese.