Why signing Junior Messias permanently could end up being shrewd business for Milan

By Luciano Marcon -

AC Milan announced the permanent signing of Walter Messias Júnior from Crotone FC on July 7, and it was met with a mixed reaction from the Rossoneri fan base.

Paolo Maldini’s responsibilities as a technical director are not only to recruit players but to oversee the club’s playing philosophy. Milan’s signings over the past two seasons show that Stefano Pioli prefers versatile players. Although versatile, Messias was a surprise signing on loan from relegated Crotone.

Transfer signings under hedge fund Elliott Management’s ownership have focused on young players with the potential to be sold for a profit. A football player’s valuation tends to drastically decline once they are 30 years old. Despite being incredibly unlikely to be permanently signed and sold for a significant profit, Maldini determined that Messias was a player Pioli could develop into an efficient attacker.

During his past two seasons in Serie A, Messias played 62 out of a possible 76 matches. For Crotone, he played as a second striker, central midfielder, attacking midfielder, and right midfielder. The only match he played as a right midfielder was against Juventus.

For Milan, Messias has played 25 out of 26 matches as a right winger or right midfielder. He only played one match as an attacking midfielder. He has not played a majority of league matches in these positions since the 2016-17 and 2017-18 Serie D seasons for ASD Chieri Calcio.

FOTMOB rated Júnior Messias’s performances in Serie A as 7.08, and WhoScored rated his league performances as 6.86. Alexis Saelemaekers’s Serie A performances were rated as 6.95 by FOTMOB and 6.68 by WhoScored. Messias being the more attack-minded winger and Saelemaekers being more defensively minded, Pioli rotated them often to fit the team’s needs.

Milan fans may want to see headlines announcing the club have signed Hakim Ziyech or Charles De Ketelaere, who would both be versatile and worthwhile signings. But unlike the currently renowned football clubs of Europe, AC Milan lacks a wealthy owner willing to splash cash on player signings and investments for the sake of reputation laundering. Maldini and Pioli have used unorthodox wingers in Messias and Saelemaekers on a relatively tight budget, and the men’s team managed to win the Scudetto.

Although the exact payment was not announced by the club, Milan are widely reported to have paid Crotone €4.5m to permanently sign Júnior Messias. This is a reasonable amount for a player who was tied for fourth-most goals scored on the team.

As Gabriele Marcotti wrote for ESPN and others have written online, Júnior Messias’s journey as a struggling footballer in Brazil to an economic migrant in Italy is inspirational. Messias struggled to rise the ranks of professional football in Brazil, and he gave up his dream to instead seek work in Italy to provide for his wife and child.

Maldini has said himself that he only became aware of Messias because he saw him play for Chieri when they played Pro Sesto, the team Paolo’s son Christian Maldini plays for.

Statistics show that Júnior Messias is an efficient attacking winger for Milan, even when he has not consistently played this position professionally for a few years. He kept Milan’s Champions League dreams alive when he scored the lone goal against Atlético Madrid, something team leaders Olivier Giroud and Zlatan Ibrahimović did not do.

In an era when fans are being priced out of affordable tickets, sold overpriced poor quality jerseys, and even priced out of youth football, Messias’s rise to playing for Milan should make all Milanisti proud that he has been permanently signed.

Walter Messias Júnior has done the improbable. Stories like his are what made many of us fall in love with football. Football is the beautiful game because it is for everyone.

Tags AC Milan Junior Messias


  1. They signed him just because they already paid 2,7 m € for loan and for our stingy administration it would be too great a loss,i bet they would sell him instantly for 6-7 m offer

  2. Best reporting I have read in a long time. I am such a fan of Junior and have been rooting for him to get a contract. He wears the jersey now… Enough said!
    What this space…

  3. Use him as back up but sell lord saladmaker to free room for ziyech. Last season awful using junior & lord saladmaker as RW

  4. Shrude? Never heard of that before. Or should I say , nevher herd uff dat beefour. LOL

    All grammatical errors aside, I think it’s not a bad signing just slightly expensive given his age. But I wish him all the best and I do appreciate that goal in the UCL to keep our hopes alive. And I do remember him giving us some points in the end of the season I think he can redeem himself this season. But I also think Ziyech and a CDM that can play CB would make out team complete

  5. Where did my comment go? I’m not the one spelling shrewd as shrude. Be a grown up and just change it instead of getting in your feelings. It’s no big deal

  6. No kerran tänne huudellaan mitä vaan niin mites jos hommattaisiinkin Teemu Pukki halvalla supersubiksi. Varmasti Norwich sen verran velkaa pelaajalle et jos Milanilta tulisi tarjous olisi pakko päästää. Saisi 5 miljoonaa fania lisää. Koko Suomi kannustaa joukkuetta jossa pelaa Suomen paras pelaaja. Aina voi haaveilla .

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