Alfredo Di Stefano’s legacy is so legendary, that anyone who represents Real Madrid tries to emulate the benchmark set by this man. By the end of his career, he held every scoring record and is the main reason behind the club’s obsession with the UEFA Champions League. He was the leader and the main man responsible for the 5 consecutive titles the club between 1955-59.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Di Stefano played club football in Argntina and Colombia before moving to Spain after being spotted by both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid scouts. The story goes that both clubs thought they had signed the little magician but after a lengthy court proceeding, Real Madrid were finally given the rights to the player and the rest is history.
He helped Real to one of their most successful era’s, highlighted by the 5 European Cups which is a record unlikely to be broken. Along with names like Gento, Amancio and Ferenc Puskas, Madrid dominated the European scene and cemented their standing as one of the greatest clubs in the World, thanks in no small measure to the Blond Arrow.
Di Stefano is regarded by many as the most complete player. He was everywhere on the pitch, pulling the strings from mid field, going back to defend as well as scoring goals. He scored in each of the 5 finals and ended his career as the highest goal scorer in the competition but has since been overtaken. He also ended his career as the top scorer for Madrid in all competitions and as well as the El Clasico.
His vision, passing, technical ability were second to none, as well as his stamina. It is said he could run throughout the game like it was the first minute. He acted like a defender one minute, then built the attack and dribbled and carried the ball forward to the opposition’s final third before providing a killer pass or unleashing a powerful shot. He had tremendous skill, creativity and leadership abilities.
He never achieved much with his National Team compared to his exploits with the Club, but he did play with Colombia, Argentina as well as Spain. He helped Spain qualify for the 1962 finals before bowing out with an injury before the finals.
Di Stefano later went into coaching and won the league and cup with Valencia and served as Real Madrid’s Director in later life, holding each position with dignity and distinction. His influence at the Club can still be seen and is still revered as a Legend, passing away in 2014 after living the most colorful and inspiring life.
All future players at Madrid, be it Zidane or Ronaldo or Kaka have been touched by this great personality and he still ranks as one of the top 5 players of all time.
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