Junior Messias‘ rise from factory worker to Champions League match-winner has been nothing short of spectacular, but AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli claims it’s not a miracle.
Messias, 30, moved to Italy from his native Brazil in 2011 and began playing amateur football while working as a delivery driver. He made his first Serie A appearance in 2019 for Crotone and never looked back.
Thanks to a highly impressive nine goals in 36 games for the Calabrian side he earned his move to Milan and, on Wednesday night, scored the winning goal in the Rossoneri’s crucial 1-0 win against Atletico Madrid, in Spain.
“It’s not a miracle, he [Messias] deserves to be here due to his hard work,” Pioli said after the game.
The Brazilian was also over the moon with his Champions League debut goal, saying, “I’m overjoyed, mostly because we won.
“Other than a debut goal in the Champions League, it was a goal that came at just the right time. We’re still alive and we’ll fight until the very end.
“I cried after I scored the goal, it was just pure emotion as I thought about all the things I had been through to get to that moment.”