THE former Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano has passed away at the age of 88.
Mr. Di Stefano was regarded as having been one of the greatest players of all time.
Born in Argentina, he joined the Spanish side in the mid-1950s and went on to win five European Cups with the club as well as clinching the Spanish League title on eight occasions. Twice honoured as European Player of the Year, he scored more than 300 goals during his time at the Bernabeu.
Before playing in Europe, Mr. Di Stefano had enjoyed success in his home country with River Plate and with Millonarios Bogata in Colombia.
Remarkably, he played for three international sides during his career — Argentina, Colombia (although these caps were not recognised by FIFA) and for Spain after he gained citizenship. However, he never appeared in a World Cup.
After retiring as a player in the 1964, Mr. Di Stefano returned to Argentina where he managed Boca Juniors and River Plate, clinching league titles with both clubs. He returned to Europe where he had managerial spells with several clubs including Valencia and Sporting Lisbon before taking control of Real Madrid in 1982. During a two-year spell at the Bernabeu, the side were runners-up in five competitions, including the 1983 Cup Winners’ Cup which was won by Aberdeen.
In 1990, he again took the reins at Real for a five-month period during which time the side won the Spanish Super Cup after defeating Barcelona.
He remained closely linked to Real, becoming the club’s honorary President in 2000.
Mr. Di Stefano passed away at a hospital in Madrid where he had been admitted after suffering a heart attack.
Tributes to him were paid from across the footballing world. Sir Bobby Charlton, who had played against him, said: “I think Alfredo Di Stefano was one of the best players I ever came across”.
Sir Bobby added: “He was somebody I really respected, having watched him from the stands at the Bernabeu and then played against him. I have many fond memories of my time with Alfredo and feel privileged to be able to call him a good friend. The footballing world has lost a great player and a great man.”
To view a tribute to Mr. Di Stefano, click here.
To see archive footage which features Mr. Di Stefano’s goal-scoring skills, click here.
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