The incredible journey of Junior Messias, the new rival of Alexis Saelemaekers, from the projects to save Milan

1. His childhood in Brazil

Junior Walter Messias was born on May 13, 1991 in Ipatinga, a village 200 kilometers from Belo Horizonte. Like any child, he dreams of becoming a professional footballer. Nicknamed “Mico”, he joined the Cruzeiro training center. However, he does not manage to impose himself there. At 20, he draws a line on football. In the process, he left his native land to reach Europe.

2. His arrival in Italy

The right winger left Brazil in 2011. He joined Italy and more precisely Turin because his brother worked there. He ended up settling there to work. He does odd jobs to earn money. Used to working in the building industry, he becomes a handyman on construction sites. Junior Messias then becomes a delivery driver. And football in all of this? In 2015, he joined the Casale club which plays in Eccelenza, the equivalent of a fifth division. From that moment, deliveries are over. Ezio Rossi, coach of Casale, offers him a salary of 1,500 euros per month. He left everything to make his return to the field.

3. From Serie D to Serie A in 4 years

Since his stint at Casale, Junior Messias has continued to rise through the ranks. Everything is going very fast. In 4 years, he moved from Serie D to Serie A. In 2017, he joined Chieri in Serie D. A year later, he will join Gozzano in Serie C. Junior Messias was already 28 years old when he joined the club of Crotone in Serie B. During the 2019-2020 season, the Calabrian club is promoted and reaches the top division. Junior Messias will take his first steps in Serie A.

4. His arrival in Milan

After a year in Serie A, Crotone is relegated to Serie B. The player then thought he was going to leave the elite of Italian football. On August 31, 2021, Junior Messias has the chance of his life. AC Milan are making an offer to Crotone, a paying one-year loan valued at 2.6 million euros.

The transfer of the Brazilian questions the followers of the Italian league despite his 9 goals scored during the 2020-2021 season. Junior Messias arrives in Milan on tiptoe. Neither the observers nor the tifosi rossoneri are convinced by this transfer. Well, history will prove them wrong.

5. From stranger to providential man

On Wednesday, November 24, his career takes another turn. AC Milan face Atletico Madrid in Matchday 5 of the Champions League group stages. A decisive match for the Rossoneri who had to win to maintain the hope of a qualification in the eighth finals.

Put on the bench by his coach, Stefano Pioli, Junior Messias does not know it yet but will experience his heyday. Returned to the game during the match, he will score the decisive goal for his team. Milan wins 0-1 and maintains the hope of qualifying by the round of 16. Following his goal, his status changed. He went from unknown to providential man.

6. Alexis Saelemaekers’ number 1 rival

The Brazilian right midfielder does not intend to stop there. During the victory of Milan against Genoa, Junior Messias was further illustrated by scoring a double. Could his good performance upset the hierarchy set up by Stefano Pioli? The question needs to be asked.

Arrived in January 2020, the Red Devil had ruled out all competition. The former Anderlecht player is considered an important member of the starting XI. Generous in the effort and omnipresent in the pressing, the number 56 fishes in the opposing third party. In fifteen Serie A days, the Belgian has delivered only 2 assists. Alexis Saelemaekers will have to correct the situation if he does not want to be overtaken by the new darling of the Milan fans.

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The incredible journey of Junior Messias, the new rival of Alexis Saelemaekers, from the projects to save Milan