Junior Messias completed his rise from delivery man to Serie A star on Thursday when his move to AC Milan was made permanent by the Italian champions.
Brazilian Messias signed for Milan last summer on a season-long loan from Crotone with an option to buy for just over five million euros and was an important part of his team’s charge to the Serie A title, scoring five times in 26 league appearances.
Milan have deposited Messias’ contract with Serie A after renegotiating the purchase fee to a reported 4.5 million euros plus bonuses.
Messias’ arrival at the highest levels of club football is all the more impressive given he began his career in Italy in the amateur game over a decade ago.
He arrived in Italy to live with his brother in 2011 and slowly rose through the lower reaches of Italian football — at one point transporting fridges for a living — before being picked up by then-Serie B club Crotone in January 2019.
He helped the southern team up to Serie A and two seasons ago scored nine times in 36 league appearances for a team which went straight back down after a year in the top flight, earning himself the chance to play for seven-time European champions Milan on loan.
However his rise was far from smooth, with a 2017 move to historic club Pro Vercelli — winners of seven league titles in the early years of last century — blocked because Serie B clubs were banned from signing players without EU passports from amateur leagues.
He would do his delivery work during the summer months between seasons rather than go on holiday in order to make a living.
Those sacrifices have led to him running out at the San Siro for one of the world’s most storied clubs and winning their first Scudetto since the year he moved to Italy.