Joseph Minala and 10 Footballers Who Look Older Than They Are

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2014

Joseph Minala and 10 Footballers Who Look Older Than They Are

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    Lazio's Cameroonian prospect Joseph Minala shut down his social media accounts (not including his Twitter) earlier this week when he came under abuse surrounding his age. 

    According to The Metro, sources in the Senegalese press have suggested that the 17-year-old is in fact 41 and that his paperwork is fraudulent.

    Lazio have vehemently denied the claims, and have insisted they will take legal action against those who have questioned the legitimacy of the teenager's true age, per the BBC

    Meanwhile, Minala's agent has attributed his client's advanced appearance to a "difficult childhood," according to La Gazetta dello Sport (via ESPN FC).  

    This curious case inspires our list of footballers who look an awful lot older than they actually are.

Arjen Robben

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    Ben Radford/Getty Images

    When Arjen Robben joined Chelsea, he was only 20 years old. However, due to his thinning hair and grizzled features, he looked at least 10 years older.

    Robben was known colloquially among fans as the oldest young player they had ever seen.

    A decade on, the Dutchman has grown into his mature look gracefully by shaving his head while playing for Bayern Munich. 

Kevin McNaughton

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Cardiff defender Kevin McNaughton, currently on loan at Bolton, is 31 years old.

    He could pass for someone in his 40s, though, thanks to the fact that he became a "Silver Fox" many years ago.

Fabrizio Ravanelli

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    After winning the Champions League at the age of 27, Fabrizio Ravanelli joined Middlesbrough, where his grey hair seemed at odds with his status as a spritely flamboyant striker. 

    In his homeland, he was known as "Penna Bianca" or "White Feather" due to his prematurely aged locks.

Charlie Adam

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Stoke's free-kick specialist, Charlie Adam, is just 28 years old. Seriously. 

    The Scottish midfielder looked like he was approaching retirement age when he came to English football in 2009, due mainly to his "homely" visage. 

Hendry Thomas

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    Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press

    FC Dallas midfielder Hendry Thomas has been playing professionally since just after the turn of the century—the turn of the 21st century, that is.

    Amazingly, the former Wigan star is only 28.

Jimmy Bullard

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    Pete Norton/Getty Images

    Jimmy Bullard was 33 years old when injury finally drew the curtain on his career.

    However, even in his pomp at Wigan and Fulham seven or eight years ago, he had a weathered complexion that suggested he might have been a touring member of Motley Crue for a few decades. 

Pablo Zabaleta

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Like Robben, Pablo Zabaleta is another player whose retreating hairline belies his age.

    The Argentine defender is just 29 years old, but he's looked like he is in his late 30s for nearly a decade.


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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Brazilian midfielder Emerson was 28 when he won his first scudetto with Juventus in 2004-05.

    He truly was the old man at the Old Lady.

Jay Spearing

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    Tony Marshall/Getty Images

    Jay Spearing has the face of the guy who has propped up the end of the bar at your local for at least 30 years.

    The diminutive Bolton midfielder is just 25 years old. 

Alan Cork

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    When striker Alan Cork lifted the FA Cup with Wimbledon in 1988, his hair was deserting him at an alarming rate.

    Here he is in 1993 as a 33-year-old with Sheffield United, sporting a bushy grey beard that appears to be on loan from Gandalf. 

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