Real Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano dies, aged 88

Argentinian won five European Cups and scored over 300 goals for the Spanish giants

 

Alfredo Di Stefano, arguably the greatest player in Real Madrid’s history, has died at the age of 88.

The former Argentina, Colombia and Spain international suffered a heart attack in the street near Real Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium on Saturday – the day after his birthday – and had been in an induced coma in intensive care at Gregorio Maranon Hospital in the centre of Madrid. Di Stefano – Real Madrid’s honorary president – was attended to by emergency medical services before being transferred to hospital. The cardiac arrest lasted 18 minutes, according to the emergency services.

After joining Real in 1953, he helped turn them into one of the world’s leading sides, winning five straight European Cups and scoring in each final between 1956 and 1960.

The Argentina-born forward also won eight Spanish league titles and was voted European player of the year in 1957 and 1959. He left Real in 1964 at the age of 38 having scored more than 300 goals across 11 seasons. Di Stefano played at international level for three countries but never appeared at the World Cup.

He won six caps for Argentina and played four times for Colombia during a spell in that country’s league. However, his Colombia caps are not officially recognised by Fifa. Fifa said in 1954 he could not play for Spain but reversed that decision in 1957 after he gained citizenship and he went on to win 31 caps, scoring 23 goals.

Di Stefano had several health scares in recent years and underwent a quadruple aorta-coronary bypass with a pacemaker implanted in December 2005 after suffering a myocardial infarction.

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