Alfredo Di Stéfano
Di Stéfano with Argentina in 1947
|Full name||Alfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano Laulhé|
|Date of birth||4 July 1926|
|Place of birth||Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|Date of death||7 July 2014(aged 88)|
|Place of death||Madrid, Spain|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|1946||→ Huracán (loan)||25||(10)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Alfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano Laulhé (Spanish pronunciation: [alˈfɾeðo ði (e)sˈtefano]; 4 July 1926 – 7 July 2014) was a footballer and coach, who has been called the best, most complete and influential footballer of all time. 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, scoring goals in each of the five finals. Di Stéfano played international football mostly for Spain after moving to Madrid, but he also played for Argentina and Colombia.
Di Stéfano, nicknamed "Saeta rubia" ("Blond Arrow"), was a powerful, quick, skillful, and prolific forward, with great stamina, tactical versatility, creativity, and vision, who could also play almost anywhere on the pitch. He is currently the sixth highest scorer in the history of Spain's top division, and Real Madrid's third highest league goalscorer of all time, with 216 goals in 282 league matches between 1953 and 1964. He is Madrid's leading goalscorer in the history of El Clásico.
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. 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"). 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.
In 2008 Di Stefano was honoured by both UEFA and Real Madrid with a special Presidents award issued by FIFA at a ceremony in Madrid, where a statue was also unveiled. Then UEFA President Michel Platini called Di Stefano "a great amongst the greats" while contemporaries Eusébio and Just Fontaine suggested that he was "the most complete footballer in the history of the game".
- 1 Early life
- 2 Club playing career
- 3 International playing career
- 4 Kidnapping in Caracas
- 5 Managerial career
- 6 After retirement
- 7 Death
- 8 Personal life
- 9 Career statistics
- 10 Honours
- 11 References
- 12 External links
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 with her relatives being from Swinford, County Mayo.
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. He won six league titles during the first 12 years of his career in Argentina and Colombia.
Club playing career
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 216 league goals in 262 games for Real (then a club record, since surpassed by Raúl and Cristiano Ronaldo), 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. It has since been surpassed by six players, initially Real Madrid's Raúl in 2005 and most recently by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2014 and Karim Benzema in 2016.
Di Stéfano scored in five consecutive European Cup finals for Real Madrid between 1956 and 1960, including a hat-trick in the last. 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.
International playing career
Di Stéfano played with three different national teams during his career: he played six times with the Argentine national team; four times with Colombia (not recognized by FIFA); and 31 times with the Spanish national team, scoring 23 goals. However, he never played in the World Cup.
Di Stéfano scored 6 goals in 6 games as Argentina won the 1947 South American Championship, his only games for the country. 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.
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. 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. He retired from international football afterwards.
Kidnapping in Caracas
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. The kidnapping was codenamed "Julián Grimau", after the Spanish communist Julián Grimau García, executed by firing squad in Spain in April 1963 during Francisco Franco's dictatorship. 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. Di Stefano played in a match against São Paulo FC the day after he was released and received a standing ovation.
A Spanish movie entitled Real, La Película (Real, The Movie), which recounted these events, was released on 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.
After retirement, he moved into coaching. He guided the Argentine clubs Boca Juniors and River Plate to league titles, 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 third in La Liga and were defeated finalists in the Supercopa de España, Copa de la Liga and Copa del Rey. Madrid were also beaten by Aberdeen, managed by Alex Ferguson, in the European Cup Winners' Cup final.
Di Stéfano resided in Spain until his death in 2014. On 5 November 2000 he was named Honorary President of Real Madrid.
On 24 December 2005, 79-year-old Di Stéfano suffered a heart attack.
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.
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. 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. During the 2014 FIFA 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.
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 16 July 2014, at the Millonarios' Estadio El Campín.
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, his former secretary, 50 years his junior.
- Torneo Nacional: 1981
- Scored in most European Cup finals: 5.
- Scored in most consecutive European Cup finals: 5.
- Most goals scored in European Cup finals: 7 (shared with Ferenc Puskás)
- Only player to be awarded the Super Ballon d'Or
- (Autobiography) Di Stéfano, Alfredo (2000). Gracias, Vieja: Las Memorias del Mayor Mito del Futbol. Madrid: Aguilar. ISBN 84-03-09200-8.
- "di Stéfano Profile" (in Spanish). Yahoo! Deportes España.
- "Di Stéfano Profile" (in Spanish). Realmadrid.com.
- "Alfredo Di Stefano, the most influential footballer of all time". World Soccer. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
- "The birth of the Saeta Rubia" (in Spanish). Clarin. 16 July 2005. Archived from the original on 13 December 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2008.
- "Saeta Rubia (Movie)". Retrieved 1 December 2008.
- "Alfredo di Stéfano was one of football's greatest trailblazers". The Guardian. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- "Alfredo Di Stefano" (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
- "Alfred Di Stefano". International Hall of Fame. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
- Paolo Corlo (7 July 2014). "Addio a Di Stefano, leggenda del Real e del calcio mondiale" [Farewell to Di Stefano, a legend of Real Madrid and World Football] (in Italian). Panorama. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
- "Maradona? Di testa segnava solo di mano..." [Maradona? With his head he only scored with his hand...] (in Italian). La Repubblica. 17 September 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
- "Golden Players take centre stage". Archived from the original on 12 March 2007. Retrieved 4 February 2010. . UEFA.com (29 November 2003).
- "Pele hits back in Maradona spat". BBC News. 17 September 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
- "RSSSF.com – Various Lists of 'Players of the Century/All-Time'". Archived from the original on 31 December 2015.
- "Football world honors Real Madrid legend Di Stefano". China Daily. 19 February 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- Brian Glanville, Soccer. A history of the game: its players, and its strategy, Crown Publishers 1968, p. 154
- "Legends: Alfredo Di Stefano". realmadrid-football.blogspot.it. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
- "Madrid legend could have been an Irish 'Don'". Hearld.ie. 25 February 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- "Alfredo Di Stéfano, Soccer Great, Dies at 88". NY Times. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- "Alfredo Di Stefano: Real Madrid legend dies at the age of 88". BBC. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- "Alfredo Di Stefano, celebrated soccer player, dies at 88". Washington Post. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- "Alfredo di Stefano dies at 88". BBC. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- "Southamerican Championship 1947". rsssf.com. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- "Di Stéfano". European Football. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
- "1962 World Cup report by CBC/Radio Canada web site". Cbc.ca. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- "The kidnap of Di Stefano". ESPN.co.uk. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- Di Stefano in serious condition, BBC News, 25 December 2005.
- "Alfredo di Stefano Stadium". Realmadrid.com. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- "Alfredo Di Stéfano in critical condition after heart attack in Madrid". The Guardian. 5 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
- "Alfredo Di Stéfano dies at the age of 88". The Guardian. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
- 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.
- "Real Madrid legend Di Stefano dies aged 88". ABP Live. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- "Alfredo Di Stefano mourners gather to pay tribute at Bernabeu". BBC Sport. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- "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.
- 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.
- "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.
- "Alfredo Di Stefano : Wives and his Children". 20 June 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- "Real Madrid: 21 años del único Súper Balón de Oro de la historia". Goal.com. (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 July 2014
- "FIFA Order of Merit" (PDF). Retrieved 21 January 2015.
- "ERIC BATTY’S WORLD XI – THE SIXTIES" Retrieved on 26 November 2015
- "Golden Foot – Alfredo Di Stéfano". Goldenfoot.com. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 February 2011. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alfredo Di Stéfano.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Alfredo Di Stéfano|
- Alfredo Di Stéfano at Real Madrid (English) (Spanish)
- Alfredo Di Stéfano – FIFA competition record
- Di Stéfano's high five UEFA.com
- Di Stéfano's golden memories UEFA.com
- Madrid salute Di Stéfano UEFA.com
- Spain national team stats from Sportec.es
- Detail of international appearances by RSSSF
- European Champions Cup/UEFA Champions League Winning Squads
- European Champions Cup/UEFA Champions League Winning Squads