Ten years ago, Junior Messias was struggling. The Brazilian was living in northern Italy aged 20 with no residence permit and no job, along with a wife and two sons to feed.
Football saved the now-AC Milan winger, but it was a slow burner. Alongside playing for a team of Peruvian refugees, Messias spent long hours delivering fridges in the working week before turning out in the amateur leagues on the weekend.
Making it into the Italian professional game is a miracle in itself, but the attacker's Hollywood-style underdog story came in handy on Wednesday night when he netted the winner for AC Milan's dramatic last-gasp win at Atletico Madrid to keep their under-fire Champions League campaign alive.
Junior Messias scored the winner in AC Milan's Champions League win over Atletico Madrid
Just six years ago, Messias was playing in Italy's amateur leagues for a Peruvian refugee team
From the refugee life eating 'rice and stones' in order to pursue a career in the game, to becoming the toast of Milan and one of the biggest clubs in the world, the Brazilian has taken his place among the great football underdog stories.
As a teenager, Messias was playing in the academy of Brazilian giants Cruzeiro - but upon failing to make the grade aged 20, he moved his entire family over to northern Italy to link up with his brother.
The winger believed his experience in Brazilian football would have earned him a spot in Serie D - Italy's fourth tier - but nobody was interested.
Instead, he played for free at Sport Warique - an amateur team consisting of solely Peruvian refugees who opened their fellow South American with open arms, but only if he took the spare fridge delivery job that was going.
Messias (holding trophy) worked as a fridge delivery driver during his time at Sport Warique
'Football is a pleasure, no matter where you play,' Messias told the "Serie A YouTube channel earlier this year. 'I had fun with the lads. I liked playing with them.
'Getting together at the weekend and playing football was pure enjoyment because my day job was tough.
'So, after a hard week's work, football was exactly what we needed. I am still in contact with my team-mates from those early days.'
Messias needed a miracle to make it in the professional game and his guardian angel came in the form of former Torino player and manager Ezio Rossi, who was volunteering at Sport Warique at the time.
Rossi saw the attacker's talents and tried desperately hard to get the Brazilian a route through the Italian football pyramid. His efforts were nearly in vain, as Messias nearly gave up on