Stuttgart striker Silas Wamangituka has detailed his remarkable story which saw him take on a fake name and age.
The forward, who was believed to have been 21 and has been linked with Everton and Leeds, comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He moved to the German side from Paris FC having started his career at French minnows Ales in 2017
But it has now been revealed that the player’s real name is Silas Katompa Mvumpa and that he was born in 1998 not 1999, which makes him 22-years-old.
Mvumpa has claimed he was unable to come forward with the truth in the past due to fears his family’s safety could be compromised.
Stuttgart have vowed to support their player after he revealed that a former agent from Belgium changed his personal data after gaining control of his bank account and possession of his passport.
His story is understood to have began on the streets of Kinshasa, where he is spotted at the age of 12 by Black Mountain Sport, an academy created by former Chelsea and Manchester City star Nicolas Anelka.
“I have lived in constant fear in recent years and I was also very worried about my family in the Congo. It was a difficult step for me to reveal my story,” he told Stuttgart’s website.
“I only dared to do this with the support of my new consultants. I realised that I no longer have to be afraid and that we can put everything on the table together.
“I wouldn’t have dared to take this step if Stuttgart, my team and VfB hadn’t become a second home for me where I feel safe. Today I am very relieved, and I hope that I can also encourage other players who have had similar experiences with agents.
“I am deeply grateful to VfB Stuttgart for all the trust and support they have shown during this time.”
L’Equipe reported back in 2019 that the forward may have been playing under a fake identity.
Stuttgart sporting director Sven Mislintat, formerly of Arsenal, has praised Silas for coming forward and confirmed he will remain part of the team.
“Silas remains the player and the person who has played his way into the hearts of our fans and his teammates since he was here in Stuttgart,” he said.
“In terms of the name change, he is above all a victim. We will protect him accordingly. I have great respect for the fact that at his young age he was almost on his own and without knowing the consequences he dared to take the step to clarify his situation.
“We will continue to help him in every way possible. Silas is part of the VfB family. He should also play football for VfB Stuttgart in the coming season as soon as he has recovered from his cruciate ligament tear.”
Stuttgart have said they won’t be revealing the name of the player’s one-time representative for legal reasons, but they will undergo an investigation.
“Immediately after Silas had confided in us, we initiated all of the measures we felt were necessary and called in the responsible bodies,” said the club’s head of sport Thomas Hitzlsperger.
“We are deliberately making this unusual case public on our own initiative to underline that we want to proceed as transparently as possible with regard to the protection of our player.
“I would like to thank all of the employees involved, the authorities, the DFL and the DFB, who have taken up the issue with absolute conscientiousness, professionalism and discretion. “
Silas scored 13 times for Stuttgart last term and starred in their return to the Bundesliga.
But he saw his season cut short by a serious knee injury, and is currently undergoing rehab as he looks to return early next season.
Stuttgart state that “legal action against his former agent is currently being examined by Silas and the people who support him. VfB also reserves the right to do so.”