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The Cameroonian's real age was called into question on social media, but the Lazio president has come out in defence of his player

Lazio president Claudio Lotito has slammed the treatment of youngster Joseph Minala after the 17-year-old's age was called into question.

Rumours on social media rapidly circulated that Cameroonian had lied about his age, forcing the Biancocelesti to release a statement threatening legal action against those who had doubted him.

"The guy has suffered so much. He was able to stand up while being part of a tough situation. He's a victim of a sick system," he told the Corriere dello Sport.

"He's a guy who has been tried by life. You know his story: he arrived in Italy and was assigned a guardian. Apart from anything else, Minala should be respected as a human being.

"They say he looks like a 40-year-old? Can you tell me how a 40-year-old could stand the pace of the game?"

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