Lazio youngster Jospeh Minala was the victim of a hoax that claimed he was actually 41 and he was also tricked into believing he had a trial with AC Milan.
Cameroonian youngster Jospeh Minala unexpectedly shot to worldwide fame when a spoof news report claimed he was 41 and he has now told the full story of his tough start to life in Italy.
Minala became a social media phenomenon briefly when a photo of him circulated along with comments suggesting he looked closer to 40 than his actual age of 17.
The photos spread widely and a newspaper also ran a satirical article attributing false quotes to Minala admitting he was 41.
Lazio were forced to publicly condemn the reports and offer proof of Minala's true age for anyone who wanted to verify his date of birth.
Now Minala, who is excelling in Lazio's youth side and has made his senior Serie A debut, has given an interview with Sky Italia which is reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport in which he recalls his harsh introduction to life in Italy.
"I'm from Cameroon and I was born on August 24, 1996 - I can prove that in any way you want," Minala begins.
"I was promised a trial with AC Milan but then the person that I was in contact with never met me at Termini station and didn't call.
"I'm only here thanks to the Italian authorities who allowed me to stay in the country. I thought that I would be made to return to Cameroon.
"Instead I had several trials with Napoli and Roma, where I signed a pre-contract agreement with Bruno Conti. That deal fell through for reasons I don't know, but I ended up at Lazio and I am happy here."