AC Milan’s Junior Messias marked a new milestone in his incredible story to the top by scoring his first-ever goal for the club on his Champions League debut to keep the Italians in the chase for the knockout stages on Wednesday.
Messias, 30, swooped in the 87th minute to give the Rossoneri a 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday.
It is a remarkable change in fortunes for the Brazilian, who just a few years ago was playing at the amateur level and holding down other jobs such as refrigerator delivery man to keep himself afloat.
The forward, who as recently as two years ago was still playing at amateur level in Italy, entered Wednesday’s game in the 64th minute for Rade Krunic, with Milan desperate for the goal which would avoid elimination from this year’s Champions League.
Twenty minutes later he proved the club’s hero, steering a towering header past Jan Oblak to clinch a 1-0 victory which leaves AC Milan level with Atletico on four points and one shy of Porto in the second last-16 qualifying spot behind group winners Liverpool.
From delivering fridges to playing in Serie D in 2015, before working his way up each stage of the Italian football pyramid to eventually join Milan! 📈
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 24, 2021
“I am very happy with the performance and the victory, it means we are still alive, but there’s a lot of work still to be done,” Messias told Amazon Prime Video Italia.
“It was all instinct, I just followed the move and kept calm as the ball came my way. When you are calm, you can do great things.
“What happened is the most important moment of my career, but humility is still so important. I mustn’t get downbeat with criticism, nor elated by compliments.
“I dedicate this goal to my family and all those who believed in me.”
Messias, who is on loan from Crotone, had only made two appearances for the Rossoneri prior to his heroic intervention and the culmination of a stunning rise from refrigerator delivery man to Champions League saviour.