Junior Messias is now the number one man on the right flank for Stefano Pioli and his preseason impacted AC Milan’s mercato plans, a report claims.
Calciomercato.com recalls how Messias had two battles to win: first of all to earn a permanent move from Crotone to Milan after his initial loan, and then to fend off Alexis Saelemaekers plus the various transfer rumours to earn and keep a place on the right wing.
He scored important goals last season such as the brace against Genoa, at home against Roma and of course against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, but he has understood that the time has come to take the big leap.
Paolo Maldini’s choice to buy him from Crotone for €4.5m certainly made the Brazilian some peace of mind and the feeling that he has the backing of both the management and the coach.
It is for this reason (plus economic factors) that Milan decided not to invest in Hakim Ziyech, who was not an alternative to Charles De Ketelaere but rather was a concrete option for the right side.
Last year, Messias amassed 1426 minutes spread across 26 appearances, but was behind Saelemaekers who played the most (1864 minutes in 36 appearances). This year he wants to change the hierarchies and has started on the right foot.