Junior Walter Messias was the last new face to arrive at the Club in the summer of 2021. The Brazilian playmaker joins AC Milan after two seasons with Crotone, where he burst onto the scene of Italian football. Born on New Years Day in 1991 in Ipatinga, Junior started his career playing youth football with Cruzeiro. His life changed for the first time in 2011 when he decided to make the move to Italy to join his brother in Turin.
Upon his arrival in Italy, his lifelong dream - becoming a professional footballer - was put on hold; Messias found work in order to support his wife and two children. The pitch called him home, though, and Junior honed his skills in his free time, playing in amateur tournaments with his friends. His life changed for a second time in 2015, four years after leaving from Brazil, when he was noticed at a tournament by Ezio Rossi, former Torino player and head coach and then technical coach at fifth-tier Casale.
It's been a steady rise up the football pyramid for Messias ever since that moment; he won the league and promotion to Serie D with Casale and then joined Chieri in 2016/17, where he won the national cup title for that level. In 2017, he joined Gozzano and led them to promotion to Serie C (for the first time in the club's history) and then helped them stay in the division the following season. After two years with the Novara-based club, he got the call from Serie B outfit Crotone.
During his first year in Calabria, he played a key role in taking Giovanni Stroppa's Squali back to Serie A, scoring six goals and providing six assists in his debut season in Italy's second tier. Three years after joining Gozzano in Serie A, Junior found himself in the top flight of Italian football and, in spite of the Pitagorici suffering relegation, finished last season with nine goals and four assists. He had displayed his technical ability, work rate and hunger to improve to the nation - traits that he will take with him on his new adventure in a Rossoneri shirt.
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