Alfredo Di Stéfano

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Alfredo di Stéfano
Distefano eg 1958.jpg
Di Stéfano in 1958.
Personal information
Full name Alfredo Stéfano di Stéfano Laulhé[1]
Date of birth (1926-07-04)4 July 1926
Place of birth Buenos Aires, Argentina
Date of death 7 July 2014(2014-07-07) (aged 88)
Place of death Madrid, Spain
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1945–1949 River Plate 66 (49)
1946 Huracán (loan) 25 (10)
1949–1953 Millonarios 102 (90)
1953–1964 Real Madrid 213 (216)
1964–1966 Espanyol 47 (11)
Total 524 (376)
National team
1947 Argentina 6 (6)
1957–1961 Spain 31 (23)
Teams managed
1967–1968 Elche
1969–1970 Boca Juniors
1970–1974 Valencia
1974–1974 Sporting CP
1975–1976 Rayo Vallecano
1976–1977 Castellón
1979–1980 Valencia
1981–1982 River Plate
1982–1984 Real Madrid
1985 Boca Juniors
1986–1988 Valencia
1990–1991 Real Madrid
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is di Stéfano and the second or maternal family name is Laulhé.

Alfredo Stéfano di Stéfano Laulhé[2] (Spanish pronunciation: [alˈfɾeðo ði (e)sˈtefano]; 4 July 1926 – 7 July 2014) was an Argentine-Spanish footballer and coach, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.[3][4][5][6] He was most associated with Real Madrid and was instrumental in their domination of the European Champions' Cup during the 1950s, a period in which the club won the trophy in five consecutive seasons from 1956. Along with Francisco Gento and José María Zárraga, he was one of only three players to play a part in all five victories. Di Stéfano played international football mostly for Spain, but he also played for Argentina and Colombia.

Di Stéfano, nicknamed "Saeta rubia" ("blonde arrow"),[7][8][9] was a powerful forward with great stamina, tactical versatility, and vision, who could also play almost anywhere on the pitch. He is currently the fifth highest scorer in the history of Spain's top division, and Real Madrid's second highest league goalscorer of all time, with 216 goals in 282 league matches between 1953 and 1964.

In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player of Spain by the Royal Spanish Football Federation as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.[10] In 2004 he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players (in September 2009, he said Di Stéfano was the best Argentinian player "ever").[11] He was voted fourth, behind Pelé, Diego Maradona, and Johan Cruyff, in a vote organized by France Football magazine which consulted their former Ballon d'Or winners to elect the Football Player of the Century.[12]

Players such as Pelé, Eusébio, Luis Suárez, Sandro Mazzola and John Charles described Di Stéfano as "the most complete footballer in the history of the game".[13]

Club playing career[edit]

Di Stéfano (right) with José Manuel Moreno during his first years in River Plate.

Born in Barracas, a neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Di Stéfano was the son of Alfredo Di Stéfano, a first-generation Italian Argentine (his father Michele emigrated to Argentina from Nicolosi in the 19th century), and Eulalia Laulhé Gilmont, an Argentine woman of French and Irish descent.[14][15] He began his career at Argentina's River Plate aged 17, in 1943. For the 1946 season he was loaned to Club Atlético Huracán, but he returned to River in 1947. Due to a footballers' strike in Argentina in 1949, Di Stéfano went to play for Millonarios of Bogotá in the Colombian league.[16] He won six league titles during the first 12 years of his career in Argentina and Colombia.[17][18]

Di Stéfano was best known for his time at Real Madrid where he was an integral part of one of the most successful teams of all time. He scored (then a club record, now surpassed by Raúl) 216 league goals in 262 games for Real, striking up a fearsome partnership with Ferenc Puskás. Di Stéfano's 49 goals in 58 matches was for decades the all-time highest tally in the European Cup, until it was surpassed by Real Madrid's Raúl in 2005, and Milan's Andriy Shevchenko and Real Madrid's Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2006. Di Stéfano scored in five consecutive European Cup finals for Real Madrid between 1956 and 1960, including a hat-trick in the latter. Perhaps the highlight of his time with the club was their 7–3 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1960 European Cup Final at Hampden Park, a game many consider to be the finest exhibition of club football ever witnessed in Europe.[16] He was awarded the Ballon d'Or for the European Footballer of the Year in 1957 and 1959.[17] He moved to Espanyol in 1964 and played there until retiring at the age of 40.[18]

International playing career[edit]

Di Stéfano played with three different national teams during his career: he played six times with the Argentine national team; twice with Colombia (not recognized by FIFA);[19] and 31 times with the Spanish national team, scoring 23 goals. However, he never played in the World Cup.[19]

Di Stéfano scored 6 goals in 6 games as Argentina won the 1947 South American Championship, his only games for the country.[20] The first World Cup in which he would have been able to participate was the 1950 tournament. As Argentina refused to participate, Di Stéfano (aged 24) missed his first chance at playing in the World Cup. For the 1954 World Cup, Argentina again did not enter and FIFA declared Di Stéfano was not eligible to play because he had previously been capped by both Argentina and Colombia.[19]

Di Stéfano acquired Spanish citizenship in 1956 and made his debut for them on 30 January 1957 in a friendly in Madrid, scoring a hat-trick in a 5–1 win.[21] He played four World Cup qualifying matches in 1957, but the team failed to qualify for the 1958 World Cup. In 1961, Di Stéfano (36) who had already won 5 European Cups, helped Spain qualify for the World Cup of 1962. A muscular injury just before the competition prevented him from playing in the finals.[22] He retired from international football afterwards.

Kidnapping in Caracas[edit]

On the night of 24 August 1963, the Venezuelan revolutionary group Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN), kidnapped Alfredo Di Stéfano at gunpoint from the Potomac Hotel in Caracas while his team, Real Madrid, were on a pre-season tour of South America.[23] The kidnapping was codenamed "Julian Grimau", after the Spanish communist Julián Grimau García, executed by firing squad in Spain in April 1963 during Francisco Franco's dictatorship.[23] Di Stefano was released unharmed two days later close to the Spanish embassy without a ransom being paid, and Di Stefano stressed that his kidnappers had not mistreated him.[23] Di Stefano played in match against São Paulo FC the day after he was released and received a standing ovation.[16][23]

A Spanish movie entitled "Real, La Película" ("Real, The Movie") which recounted these events was released in 25 August 2005. In a bizarre publicity stunt at the premiere, kidnapper Paul del Rio, now a famous artist, and Di Stefano were brought together for the first time since the abduction, 41 years before.[23]

Managerial career[edit]

Di Stéfano's memorabilia at the Real Madrid museum

After retirement, he moved into coaching. He guided the Argentine clubs Boca Juniors and River Plate to league titles,[17] and won La Liga and the Copa del Rey with Valencia as well as the European Cup Winners' Cup with the side in 1980. He also managed Sporting in the 1974/75 season and Real Madrid between 1982 and 1984. The 1982–83 was catastrophic for Real, they finished second in La Liga and were defeated finalists in the Supercopa de España, Copa de la Liga and Copa del Rey.[17] Madrid were also beaten by Aberdeen, managed by Alex Ferguson, in the European Cup Winners' Cup final.[17]

After retirement[edit]

Di Stéfano resided in Spain until his death in 2014. On 5 November 2000 he was named Honorary President of Real Madrid.[17]

On 24 December 2005, 79-year-old Di Stéfano suffered a heart attack.[24]

On 9 May 2006, the Alfredo di Stéfano Stadium was inaugurated at the City of Real Madrid, where Real Madrid usually train. Its inaugural match was between Real Madrid and Stade de Reims, a rematch of the European Cup final won by Real Madrid in 1956. Real Madrid won 6–1 with goals from Sergio Ramos, Antonio Cassano (2), Roberto Soldado (2), and José Manuel Jurado.[25]

Death[edit]

Following another heart attack on 5 July 2014, the 88-year-old Di Stéfano was moved to intensive care in the Gregorio Marañón hospital in Madrid,[26] where he died on 7 July 2014.[27][28][29]

On 8 July, his coffin was placed on public display at the Bernabéu Stadium. Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez and captain Iker Casillas were amongst those in attendance.[30] Following his death Di Stéfano received tributes from many famous football personalities including Alex Ferguson, Johan Cruyff, Pelé, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Maradona and Bobby Charlton.[31] During the 2014 World Cup semi-final between Argentina and the Netherlands on 9 July, Di Stéfano was honoured with one minute of silence, while the Argentine team also wore black ribbons in a matter of respect.[32]

The Club Atlético River Plate from Argentina and Millonarios Fútbol Club from Colombia organized a friendly match in homage of their former player. The match was played on July 16, 2014, at the Millonarios' Estadio El Campín.[33]

Personal life[edit]

Di Stéfano married Sara Freites in 1950, they had six children; Alfredo, Ignacio, Sofia, Silvana, Helena and Nanette, who died in December 2012. At the time of his death he was dating his Costa Rican girlfriend Gina González,[34] his former secretary, 50 years his junior.

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Club Season League Cup Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
River Plate 1945 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Huracán 1946 25 10 0 0 0 0 25 10
Total 25 10 0 0 0 0 25 10
River Plate 1947 30 27 0 0 0 0 30 27
1948 23 13 0 0 6 4 29 17
1949 12 9 0 0 0 0 12 9
Total 66 49 0 0 6 4 72 53
Millonarios 1949 15 16 0 0 0 0 15 16
1950 29 23 2 1 0 0 29+ 23+
1951 34 32 ? ? 0 0 34+ 32+
1952 24 19 ? ? 0 0 24+ 19+
Total 102 90 10 10 0 0 292 267
Real Madrid 1953–54 28 27 0 0 0 0 28 27
1954–55 30 25 0 0 2 0 32 25
1955–56 30 24 0 0 7 5 37 29
1956–57 30 31 3 3 10 9 43 43
1957–58 30 19 7 7 7 10 44 36
1958–59 28 23 8 5 7 6 43 34
1959–60 23 12 5 3 6 8 34 23
1960–61 23 21 9 8 4 1 36 30
1961–62 23 11 8 4 10 7 41 22
1962–63 13 12 9 8 2 1 24 21
1963–64 24 11 1 1 9 5 34 17
Total 284 216 50 39 64 52 396 307
Espanyol 1964–65 24 7 3 2 0 0 27 9
1965–66 23 4 4 1 6 0 33 5
Total 47 11 7 3 6 0 60 14
Career totals 521 376 67 52 76 56 664 485

International[edit]

[21]

Spain
Year Apps Goals
1957 7 7
1958 4 1
1959 5 6
1960 8 6
1961 7 3
Total 31 23

International goals for Argentina[edit]


# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 4 December 1947 Estadio George Capwell, Guayaquil, Ecuador  Bolivia 6–0 7–0 1947 South American Championship
2. 11 December 1947 Estadio George Capwell, Guayaquil, Ecuador  Peru 2–1 3–2
3. 16 December 1947 Estadio George Capwell, Guayaquil, Ecuador  Chile 1–0 1–1
4. 18 December 1947 Estadio George Capwell, Guayaquil, Ecuador  Colombia 2–0 6–0
5. 5–0
6. 6–0

International goals for Spain[edit]


[21]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 30 January 1957 Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain  Netherlands 1–0 5–1 International friendly
2. 3–0
3. 5–0
4. 31 March 1957 King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium  Belgium 1–0 5–0 International friendly
5. 4–0
6. 24 November 1957 Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne, Switzerland   Switzerland 1–0 4–1 1958 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA – Group 9)
7. 3–0
8. 13 April 1958 Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain  Portugal 1–0 1–0 International friendly
9. 28 February 1959 Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy  Italy 1–1 1–1 International friendly
10. 28 June 1959 Silesian Stadium, Chorzów, Poland  Poland 2–1 4–2 1960 European Nations' Cup Q
11. 4–1
12. 14 October 1959 Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain  Poland 1–0 3–0 1960 European Nations' Cup Q
13. 22 November 1959 Estadio Mestalla, Valencia, Spain  Austria 4–2 6–3 International friendly
14. 5–2
15. 13 March 1960 Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain  Italy 2–1 3–1 International friendly
16. 10 July 1960 Estadio Nacional, Lima, Peru  Peru 1–0 3–1 International friendly
17. 14 July 1960 Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, Ñuñoa, Chile  Chile 1–0 4–0 International friendly
18. 2–0
19. 17 July 1960 Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, Ñuñoa, Chile  Chile 1–0 4–1 International friendly
20. 2–0
21. 19 April 1961 Ninian Park, Cardiff, Wales  Wales 2–1 2–1 1962 FIFA World Cup qualification
22. 11 June 1961 Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Sevilla, Spain  Argentina 2–0 2–0 International friendly
23. 23 November 1961 Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain  Morocco 2–1 3–2 1962 FIFA World Cup qualification

Honours[edit]

Manager[edit]

References[edit]

General
  • (Autobiography) Di Stéfano, Alfredo (2000). Gracias, Vieja: Las Memorias del Mayor Mito del Futbol. Madrid: Aguilar. ISBN 84-03-09200-8. 
Specific
  1. ^ "di Stéfano Profile" (in Spanish). Yahoo! Deportes España. 
  2. ^ (Spanish) "di Stéfano Profile". Realmadrid.com. 
  3. ^ IFFHS' Century Elections. Rsssf.com (30 January 2000). Retrieved on 31 March 2013.
  4. ^ "The Best of The Best". Rsssf.com (19 June 2009). Retrieved on 31 March 2013.
  5. ^ Alfredo Di Stéfano: The greatest footballer of all time?. Bleacher Report. Retrieved on 31 March 2013.
  6. ^ Football's Greatest – Alfredo Di Stefano on YouTube
  7. ^ (Spanish) "The birth of the Saeta Rubia". Clarin. 16 July 2005. Archived from the original on 13 December 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2008. 
  8. ^ "Saeta Rubia (Movie)". Retrieved 1 December 2008. 
  9. ^ "Alfredo di Stefano – Saeta Rubia". AlbionRoad.com. 27 June 2008. Archived from the original on 20 October 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2008. 
  10. ^ Golden Players take centre stage at the Wayback Machine (archived March 12, 2007). UEFA.com (29 November 2003).
  11. ^ "Pele hits back in Maradona spat". BBC News. 17 September 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  12. ^ "RSSSF.com – Various Lists of 'Players of the Century/All-Time'". 
  13. ^ "Football world honors Real Madrid legend Di Stefano". China Daily. 19 February 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  14. ^ Brian Glanville, Soccer. A history of the game: its players, and its strategy, Crown Publishers 1968, p. 154
  15. ^ "Legends: Alfredo Di Stefano". realmadrid-football.blogspot.it. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  16. ^ a b c "Alfredo Di Stéfano, Soccer Great, Dies at 88". NY Times. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f "Alfredo Di Stefano: Real Madrid legend dies at the age of 88". BBC. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "Alfredo Di Stefano, celebrated soccer player, dies at 88". Washington Post. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  19. ^ a b c "Alfredo di Stéfano was one of football's greatest trailblazers". The Guardian. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  20. ^ "Southamerican Championship 1947". rsssf.com. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c "Di Stéfano". European Football. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  22. ^ "1962 World Cup report by CBC/Radio Canada web site". Cbc.ca. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  23. ^ a b c d e "The kidnap of Di Stefano". ESPN.co.uk. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  24. ^ Di Stefano in serious condition, BBC News, 25 December 2005.
  25. ^ "Alfredo di Stefano Stadium". Realmadrid.com. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  26. ^ "Alfredo Di Stéfano in critical condition after heart attack in Madrid". The Guardian. 5 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  27. ^ "Alfredo Di Stéfano dies at the age of 88". The Guardian. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  28. ^ Rice, Simon (7 July 2014). "Alfredo Di Stefano dead: Legendary Argentinian player and honorary Real Madrid President passes away aged 88". The Independent. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  29. ^ "Real Madrid legend Di Stefano dies aged 88". ABP Live. Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  30. ^ "Alfredo Di Stefano mourners gather to pay tribute at Bernabeu". BBC Sport. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  31. ^ "Alfredo Di Stefano has died – Real Madrid legend passes away after suffering heart attack, aged 88". Daily Mail. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  32. ^ Kent, David (9 July 2014). "Argentina and Holland pay tribute to Alfredo Di Stefano with a minute's silence before World Cup semi-final clash". Daily Mail. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  33. ^ "River enfrentará a Millonarios de Colombia, en un partido homenaje a Di Stéfano" [River will play against Millonarios from Colombia, in an homage match for Di Stéfano] (in Spanish). Telam. July 16, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Alfredo Di Stefano : Wives and his Children". 20 June 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  35. ^ "Real Madrid: 21 años del único Súper Balón de Oro de la historia". Goal.com. (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 July 2014

External links[edit]