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Featured Image Credit: Image: PA
Junior Messias pointed to the heavens and sunk to his knees after leaping highest to head home AC Milan's late winner against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night.
The forward, having been introduced in the 64th minute, had scored on his first Champions League appearance at the age of 30 and understandably it meant so much to him.
That's because Messias has come a long to way to get to where he was today. He didn't even turn professionally until the age of 27 and was spending his time playing in the amateur leagues in Italy while also working a regular job and providing for his wife and son.
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
30-year-old Junior Messias bags their winner away against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League! What a story! ✨#UCL pic.twitter.com/v1oOPS7Ori
That job was a delivery driver. At the age of 24, Messias used to deliver fridges and household appliances in Turin in addition to his footballing exploits.
He even turned down the opportunity to join Casale to begin with because of his work situation.
Having played football with a team of Peruvian nationals after moving to Italy, it took him until 2018 to score his first professional goal, when he bagged for Gozzano against Piacenza.
He then moved up the ladder with Crotone and starred for them as they were promoted from Serie B to Serie A, scoring six goal in 2019/20.
Milan liked what they saw from him in his debut top-flight campaign and brought him on loan this term. He's only made three appearances thus far but his contribution at the Wanda Metropolitano was monumental.
The incredible story of Junior Messias, AC Milan hero tonight. 🔴🇧🇷— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 24, 2021
Three years ago he was in Italian 4th division.
He used to deliver refrigerators and other household appliances whilst playing at the amateur level.
Tonight, scored on his FIRST #UCL appearance - 30 years old. pic.twitter.com/07XiektWdX
The Brazilian's glorious header past Jan Oblak kept the Rossoneri's Champions League knockout hopes alive as they are just a point behind second-placed Porto in Group B going into the final fixture.
And Messias was unsurprisingly absolutely ecstatic with his heroics on the biggest stage.
“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, as per Goal.
“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.”
The former Cruzeiro youth player also said he "felt like crying" and that his "whole history is written by God".
Milan host Liverpool at the San Siro in the final matchday, with Porto at home to Atletico.
From delivering goods to delivering goals, Messias' story is an inspirational one and shows it's never too late to achieve your dreams.