5 Overlapping Steps from Lionel Messi to Dixie Dean
Dixie Dean was the Lionel Messi of his day.
The English striker scored 349 goals in 399 appearances during his 12 years at Everton between 1925 and 1937, including scoring an incredible 60 league goals during the 1927-28 season.
Messi is now repeating Dean's goal-scoring feats and has already registered 223 goals in 252 appearances for Barcelona, including 50 league goals in the 2011-12 season.
Even though Dean was born a full 80 years before Messi, it is still possible to link the pair in just five steps...
1. Lionel Messi (2004-Today) Played Against Ryan Giggs (1991-Today)
When: Manchester United v Barcelona, Champions League final, Wembley stadium, London, 28 May 2011
Things that hadn’t happened in history yet: Within six weeks, South Sudan would gain independence and The News of the World newspaper in the UK closes after 168 years.
The match: Messi scores a brilliant goal as Barcelona sweep aside United 3-1 to win their fourth European Cup.
2. Ryan Giggs (1991-Today) Played with Bryan Robson (1974-1997)
When: Manchester United v Manchester City, First Division, Old Trafford, Manchester, 4 May 1991
Who else was playing: Amongst others, Mark Hughes, Steve Bruce, Niall Quinn and Peter Reid
Things that hadn’t happened in history yet: A month later Bryan Adams releases (Everything I Do) I Do It for You which goes on to top the UK charts for a record 16 consecutive weeks.
The match: Ryan Giggs is credited with the winner as United win 1-0.
3. Bryan Robson (1974-1997) Played Against Alex Stepney (1961-1982)
When: Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion, First Division, Old Trafford, Manchester, 23 March 1977
Who else was playing: Amongst others, Johnny Giles, Laurie Cunningham, Steve Coppell and Gordon Hill
Things that hadn’t happened in history yet: Later in the year Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her Silver Jubilee for being on the British throne for 25 years.
The match: United had been beaten 4-0 by West Brom earlier in this season but this time earn a 2-2 draw.
4. Alex Stepney (1961-1982) Was Managed by Sir Matt Busby (1928- 1971)
When: Manchester United v Benfica, European Cup final, Wembley stadium, London, 29 May 1968
Who else was playing: Amongst others, George Best, Bobby Charlton, Eusebio and Jose Torres.
Things that hadn’t happened in history yet: Later in the year Richard Nixon is elected the 37th President of the United States after defeating Hubert Humphrey.
The match: Alex Stepney makes some crucial saves to ensure United become the first English side to win the European Cup with a 4-1 win after extra-time against the Portuguese champions.
5. Sir Matt Busby (1928-1971) Played Against Dixie Dean (1923-1940)
When: Everton v Liverpool, First Division, Goodison Park, Liverpool, 19 September 1936
Who else was playing: Amongst others, Ted Sagar, Joe Mercer, Alf Hobson and Jimmy McDougall.
Things that hadn’t happened in history yet: Less than two weeks later, one of football’s greatest-ever players, Duncan Edwards, is born.
The match: Dean scores, of course, one of his 24 league goals that season, as Everton run out as 2-0 winners in the derby.