• Football

Di Stefano dies aged 88

ESPN staff
July 7, 2014
Di Stefano, Real Madrid legend passes away

Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano has died in hospital at the age of 88.

Di Stefano had been in a coma at the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon in Madrid after he suffered a heart attack during a meal to celebrate his 88th birthday at the weekend.

The former Argentina and Spain international was one of the greatest players of the 20th century, and an outstanding personality in the history of one of the world's biggest clubs.

News of Di Stefano's passing was confirmed via a statement released by Madrid on Monday afternoon.

"Real Madrid CF announces that its honorary president, Alfredo Di Stefano, has died today at 5.15pm at the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon in Madrid," the statement read.

"The president of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, and the club's board wish to express their most profound condolences and all their affection to his children, his family and his friends. Real Madrid extends its condolences to madridistas all over the world and to those who feel the loss of the best player of all time."

After joining Madrid in a controversial transfer in 1955, Di Stefano had led Los Blancos to eight of the next 10 La Liga titles, and most famously five successive European Cup trophies from 1956 to 1960. He was named Ballon d'Or winner in 1957 and 1959.

During 11 seasons at Madrid, Di Stefano scored 308 goals in 396 games. He then played for two seasons at Espanyol, before coaching Elche, Boca Juniors, Valencia, Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Rayo Vallecano, Castellon and River Plate.

Since 2000, he has been honorary president back at Madrid, and a regular presence at games and club events.

The Spanish FA, Argentine FA, Barcelona and many other clubs also issued statements of condolence.

Madrid said on their official website that FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini had contacted Perez over the weekend to pass on their support and concern after Di Stefano fell into a coma.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque also quickly offered his condolences to Di Stefano's family and friends, in comments published on the Spanish FA website.

"I had him as a coach in my last stage as a player, I knew him well so of course I am so sorry for the loss," the former Real Madrid boss said. "Of course I send my best wishes to his family and his circle and also to all madridismo, for whom it is such a sad day."

Alfredo Di Stefano had been in a coma following a heart attack on Saturday © Getty Images
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