The resemblance was uncanny. In fact, so uncanny, I had to pull someone alongside me and ask if he thought the same.
I’d been on the Wembley Tour this week and really well worth going on I might suggest. But as much of a jaw-dropper was after it was over and you wander off to the excellent European Cup/Champions League exhibition adjacent to where the tour ends.
Just up my street actually and I might have still been there now but for having to get back to work. But, in addition to the excellent individual exhibits showcasing every final it includes widescreen tv showing past finals, star players, great moments etc. One bit of action from the great goalscorers particularly stopped me in my tracks.
“What’s Lionel Messi doing running through and scoring in this grainy black and white film?”, I’m thinking. How could that be?
There’s me thinking that Messi, with his scampering, lightning-quick, pitter=patter run, was a one off. No one quite like him. But I’d just seen someone look very similar. Yet it couldn’t be the little magician from Barcelona. That clip ended and off to the next one.
Eventually, the loop came around again to that point - and it was the great Hungarian player Ferenc Puskas, who like Messi, had a brilliant left foot (although the opicture above shows him shooting with his right).
The running style, the quick, short steps, were uncannily like Messi in motion. I asked a guy who had been on the tour to watch and see if he thought I was on the right lines or the wrong track. He watched. What did he think? “I thought,” he said, “he looks like Messi; has someone, somehow, dubbed him onto the film?” It is the closest resemblance I’ve seen to Messi.
The clip was actually of Puskas’s hat-trick for Real Madrid in the 1962 European Cup Final although he ended on the losing side against Benfica.
Don’t know how many Blades fans will be making an extended trip to London come semi-final weekend (full tours stop after the Thursday before and restart Monday) but the chance to go behind the scenes of this awesome stadium, into the England dressing room, experience the walk out of the tunnel, be up in the Royal Box and plenty more, is well worth it.
Then linger some at the European Cup exhibition and look out for a little bloke top-toeing through and shooting left footed and see if you think it reminds you of anybody.