Ex-delivery driver who only turned at 27 scores in Champions League for AC Milan

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AC Milan needed somebody to deliver in their must win Champions League match Atletico Madrid – fortunately they had Junior Messias within their ranks who knows a thing or two about delivering.

After all, the Brazilian has spent more time as a delivery driver than he has playing professional footballer.

In the space of five years, the 30-year-old has progressed from combining his day job of delivering washing machines and recovering bricks from demolished building and competing in Serie D, to scoring the vital goal that keeps AC Milan’s feint Champions League hopes alive.

The midfielder timed his run into the box perfectly; meeting Franck Kessie’s teasing cross into the Atletico Madrid six-yard box and heading past a stranded Jan Oblak.

AC Milan players and backroom staff exploded into a sheer mess of delirium and jubilation, while Messias sunk to his knees and pointed at the sky.

Messias has dragged himself to the pinnacle of European football in the hardest way possible.

At 30-years-old, most footballers at this level consider themselves to have entered their prime years – Messias is just getting started.

Before he was ghosting behind Diego Simeone defences, Messias was laying the foundations of for his football career, as well as recovering bricks from previous foundations of demolished buildings.

He would then deliver those materials to new building projects, as well as playing for Serie D sides Casale, Chieri and Gozzano.

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Perhaps it was his time spent as a delivery driver where his ability scanning abilities and awareness of his surroundings were developed.

While he was playing in Serie D, former player Elio Rossi met him after one of his matches in the lower league and managed to obtain a €1500 per month salary to play for Casale.

He would then eventually progress to Serie B side Crotone, where he truly left his mark.

His impressive performances helped drive the side into Serie A, where he recorded a very impressive nine goals and four assists in his first season.

That is a very spectacular return for a player who only turned professional at the age most players consider their career to have reached its highest point.

The following season, the very club he grew up supporting came knocking on the door at Crotone.

AC Milan signed the midfielder on an initial loan of €2.6m, with an option to sign him for €5.4m plus bonuses the following season.

His magical journey reached a magnificent new milestone with his winning goal against Atletico.

The Rossoneri came into the contest of the back of three defeats and one draw in their first four Champions League group matches.

Anything less than a win would have seen them finish their European campaign as the foundations propping up group B.

Victory against a Liverpool side who have already secured their progression as group leaders, would see them progress into the knockout stages; providing Porto fail to beat Atletico.

While Messias was the saviour of Milan’s entire Champions League campaign, he is as rooted and down to earth as the very washing machines on his previous delivery truck.

His parents and Auntie who are still living in Brazil, are all evangelist Christians who prayed for his footballing career every day.

“They were really happy, over the moon, when I signed with Milan,” Messias said to Milan TV when he first signed for the Rossoneri.

“It’s what they wanted. My mum is a big believer, an evangelist and this is a promise that, once my aunt prayed, she told me even though I didn’t believe it anymore because I was already grown up.

“But she told me I’d become a footballer in Europe, she described it like this, that I would play for big teams.

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“At some point, I thought God changed his plans and now I need to do something else. My mum is really happy too, because you realise that God does exist because to say this to a boy of 18-19 years.

“At 18 you usually already have your path mapped out becoming a footballer. Faith is very important to me.”

Many Milan fans would have lost all of their faith after their opening three defeats to Liverpool, Atletico, and Porto.

However, he has managed to head a path into the knockout stages which was previously inconceivable to their proud supporters.

Liverpool will be the final blockade standing between Milan and the knockout stages.

And if Messias can once again find space in behind Virgil van Dijk and co as well as he could find houses, then Pioli’s side have a great chance to perform another miracle.

  • Champions League
  • AC Milan FC
  • Serie A

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