Lazio President Claudio Lotito has backed Joseph Minala, after the youth prospect was accused of lying about his age.
The 17-year-old Biancocelesti Primavera player has been courting controversy this week, with some claiming that he is in fact 41.
The Stadio Olimpico side’s chief though, has insisted that Minala should be ‘respected as a person’.
“This is a guy who has already been through a lot having arrived in Italy,” he told Corriere dello Sport.
“Beyond everything that’s been said, Minala deserves respect as a human being, first and foremost.
“We forget the efforts that those, like him, have made. He has come from a disadvantaged situation and has done everything to be a success.
“They say he looks 40, but how? And tell me how a 40-year-old could play in a Primavera game and last the distance?”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!