Junior Messias’ first coach Ezio Rossi says the new Milan striker didn’t believe he could become a professional footballer until five or six years ago.
The 30-year-old joined Milan from Crotone on the deadline day on a temporary loan deal with an option to buy.
Only three years ago, he was playing in Serie D, Italy’s fourth division, but Messias had begun his playing career only two or three years earlier.
Messias used to play football as a hobby, supplementing his income with jobs that ranged from recovering bricks from demolished buildings to delivering washing machines and refrigerators.
Ezio Rossi was the first person who spotted his talent five or six years ago and brought him to Casale, where Junior Messias began his career.
The current coach of Città di Varese reveals Messias didn’t believe he could become a footballer.
“I had no team at that time, so I was coaching a group of political refugees. A friend of mine, Roberto Arena, once invited me to watch a game saying: ‘Come with me, there is a Brazilian player who is quite good,” Rossi told Tutti Convocati on Radio 24.
“I did it and I saw this talented player. I spoke to him at the end of the match and we met a few days later in a bar. It was during a break from his work, he was moving and delivering refrigerators. I told him that I could have helped him enter the world of football, at least at an amateur level.
“However, he told me his story, he said that he had tried to become a footballer and that at that time he hadn’t got a visa even if he was eligible to apply for it. He didn’t want to lose his job and I could not convince him. He didn’t believe he could become a footballer,” Rossi revealed.
“Four months later, I was appointed as Casale’s coach in Italy’s fifth division and he was the first person I called. I knew he was really strong, but I knew nothing about his attitude. He’d never been a footballer before. I think he only played in the Brazilian third division.
“We managed to get him a visa and I must thank the club because they allowed me to sign a player that nobody knew. His salary was €1,500 a month and that’s how his career began.
“The story is not over. I texted him to say that every goal he reaches must be the motivation to do something more. He has the right attitude, so I hope that’s what will happen.”