Alfredo Di Stéfano

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Alfredo Di Stéfano
Mcu Alfredo Di Stefano.jpg
Di Stéfano with the Argentina national team.
Personal information
Full nameAlfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano Laulhé[1]
Date of birth(1926-07-04) 4 July 1926 (age 86)
Place of birthBuenos Aires, Argentina
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing positionForward
Senior career*
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
1945–1949River Plate95(79)
1946Huracán (loan)55(40)
1949–1953Millonarios131(120)
1953–1964Real Madrid302(246)
1964–1966Espanyol77(41)
Total660(526)
National team
1947Argentina6(6)
1949Colombia4(0)
1957–1961Spain31(23)
Teams managed
1967–1967Elche
1969–1970Boca Juniors
1970–1974Valencia
1974–1974Sporting CP
1975–1976Rayo Vallecano
1976–1977Castellón
1979–1980Valencia
1981–1982River Plate
1982–1984Real Madrid
1985Boca Juniors
1986–1988Valencia
1990–1991Real Madrid
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
 
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Alfredo Di Stéfano
Mcu Alfredo Di Stefano.jpg
Di Stéfano with the Argentina national team.
Personal information
Full nameAlfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano Laulhé[1]
Date of birth(1926-07-04) 4 July 1926 (age 86)
Place of birthBuenos Aires, Argentina
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing positionForward
Senior career*
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
1945–1949River Plate95(79)
1946Huracán (loan)55(40)
1949–1953Millonarios131(120)
1953–1964Real Madrid302(246)
1964–1966Espanyol77(41)
Total660(526)
National team
1947Argentina6(6)
1949Colombia4(0)
1957–1961Spain31(23)
Teams managed
1967–1967Elche
1969–1970Boca Juniors
1970–1974Valencia
1974–1974Sporting CP
1975–1976Rayo Vallecano
1976–1977Castellón
1979–1980Valencia
1981–1982River Plate
1982–1984Real Madrid
1985Boca Juniors
1986–1988Valencia
1990–1991Real Madrid
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Alfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano Laulhé[2] (born 4 July 1926 in Barracas, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires), born into a family of Italian immigrants from Capri,[3] is a former Argentinian footballer and coach, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. [4][5][6][7] He is 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, he was one of only two 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" ("blond arrow"),[8][9][10] was a powerful forward with great stamina, tactical versatility, and vision, who could also play almost anywhere on the pitch. He is currently the 4th highest scorer in the history of Spain's top division, and Real Madrid's 2nd 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.[11] He was named by Pelé as one of the "top 125 greatest living footballers" in March 2004 (in September 2009 he said Di Stéfano was the best Argentinian player "ever"[12]). Di Stéfano was voted fourth, behind Pelé, Diego Maradona, and Johan Cruyff, in a vote organized by the French weekly magazine France Football consulting their former Ballon d'Or winners to elect the Football Player of the Century.[13]

Former 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".[14]

Contents

Club playing career

Alfredo Di Stéfano born into a family of Italian immigrants from Nicolosi, near Catania. 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 footballer's 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.

Di Stéfano playing with River Plate in 1947.

Di Stéfano is 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 Gonzalez) 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. He was voted European Footballer of the Year in 1957 and 1959.

He moved to Espanyol in 1964 and played there until hanging up his boots at the age of 40.

Controversy surrounding transfer to Spain

Di Stéfano's transfer to Spain would prove controversial. The mission to secure the signing of Di Stéfano to Barcelona had first been given to Ramón Trias Fargas, who, besides being a lawyer and expert in commercial law, was the son of one of the share-holders of Millonarios, where Di Stéfano was playing at the time. According to Trias Fargas, Barcelona's own management effectively obstructed the transfer when club president Marti Carreto also involved Barcelona chief scout Josep Samitier in the negotiations. Samitier, in his turn, brought in his Colombian friend, Joan Busquets, to speed up the talks with the Colombian club. Busquets, a director of Millonarios' rivals Santa Fé, seem to have tried more to sabotage the deal than to secure it. After issuing a harsh ultimatum to Millonarios to accept a modest offer for the player he organized Di Stéfano's defection from Colombia when the ultimatum was rejected, despite Di Stéfano owing the club money. River Plate, who owned the rights of the player from 1955 onwards, had accepted the transfer on the condition that Millonarios also agreed upon the transfer, which they, after what they perceived as Busquets' bullying tactics, weren't interested in doing. Trias Fargas' negotiations with the Colombians regarding a transfer sum were also breaking down when Carreto, despite assurances to Trias Fargas that he would pay whatever price Trias Fargas thought necessary, rejected a figure whenever it was agreed between the lawyer and the Colombians. Trias Fargas blamed Carreto claiming Barcelona directors had allowed him to spend $20,000 but Carreto only accepted to offer $10,000 plus the player's debts.

In 1953, Di Stéfano signed a deal with Barcelona and FIFA, who didn't know anything about Di Stéfano having left Millonarios without permission, authorized the transfer from River Plate. The Spanish Federation, however, did not recognize the deal. According to Andres Ramírez, the Spanish Football Federation secretary, both Millonarios (who owned the rights of the player until the end of 1954, according to the agreements reached in the Lima Pact) and River Plate's consent were needed in order for Di Stéfano to sign up with a Spanish club. Indeed Millonarios had reported FIFA the anomalous situation of the Argentinian, so FIFA itself demanded the Spanish Federation to solve the problem. On 13 May 1953, he arrived in Spain to conclude his contract with Barcelona but during the discussions with the Federation, Real Madrid's president Santiago Bernabéu, acting upon the apparent division within the Barcelona management, convinced him to sign for them instead.

During the parallel negotiations between the two Spanish clubs and Millonarios, the Spanish Federation issued a ban on foreign players in the Spanish league. On 15 September, the Spanish Federation made public the decision, which club presidents Carreto and Bernabéu had signed, to allow Di Stéfano four seasons in Spain – two for each team, to be played alternately. The agreement created such a storm of protests by the rest of the Barcelona management and the fans that Carreto resigned a week later. The reasons for Barcelona's decision to let the player go to Madrid are disputed by the two clubs.This incident exacerbated the traditional enmity between the two clubs.[15]

Testimonial match

One year after his retirement as footballer, a testimonial match was held on 7 June 1967 and played for a trophy which named after himself. The Alfredo Di Stéfano Trophy or Alfredo Di Stéfano Cup was won by Celtic of Scotland. The trophy was contested in a match between Real Madrid and Celtic at Real's Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid. The match took place 2 weeks after Celtic's victory in the European Cup 1967. Celtic won the match 0–1, with Bobby Lennox scoring the victory.

International playing career

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) and 31 times with the Spanish national team. However, he never played in the World Cup Finals.

World Cup absence

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 did not enter and FIFA declared Di Stéfano was not eligible to play because he had previously been capped by both Argentina and Colombia.[citation needed]

He acquired Spanish citizenship in 1956, and played four World Cup qualifying matches for Spain 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.[16] He retired from international football afterwards.

Managerial career

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, 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. Madrid were also beaten by immense underdogs Aberdeen in the European Cup Winners' Cup final. Out of five possible trophies, Real Madrid collected five runners' up titles.

After retirement

Di Stéfano currently resides in Spain. 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.[17]

On 9 May 2006, The Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium was inaugurated at the City of Real Madrid, where Real Madrid usually trains. The 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 the inaugural match 6–1 with goals from Sergio Ramos, Antonio Cassano (2), Roberto Soldado (2), and José Manuel Jurado.

Career statistics

International goals for Spain


#DateVenueOpponentScoreResultCompetition
1.30 January 1957Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain Netherlands1–05–1International friendly
2.30 January 1957Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain Netherlands3–05–1International friendly
3.30 January 1957Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain Netherlands5–05–1International friendly
4.31 March 1957King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium Belgium1–05–0International friendly
5.31 March 1957King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium Belgium4–05–0International friendly
6.24 November 1957Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne, Switzerland Switzerland1–04–11958 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA – Group 9)
7.24 November 1957Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne, Switzerland Switzerland3–04–11958 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA – Group 9)
8.13 April 1958Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain Portugal1–01–0International friendly
9.28 February 1959Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy Italy1–11–1International friendly
10.28 June 1959Silesian Stadium, Chorzów, Poland Poland2–14–21960 European Nations' Cup Q
11.28 June 1959Silesian Stadium, Chorzów, Poland Poland4–14–21960 European Nations' Cup Q
12.14 October 1959Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain Poland1–03–01960 European Nations' Cup Q
13.22 November 1959Estadio Mestalla, Valencia, Spain Austria4–26–3International friendly
14.22 November 1959Estadio Mestalla, Valencia, Spain Austria5–26–3International friendly
15.13 March 1960Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain Italy2–13–1International friendly
16.10 July 1960Estadio Nacional, Lima, Peru Peru1–03–1International friendly
17.14 July 1960Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, Ñuñoa, Chile Chile1–04–0International friendly
18.14 July 1960Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, Ñuñoa, Chile Chile2–04–0International friendly
19.17 July 1960Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, Ñuñoa, Chile Chile1–04–1International friendly
20.17 July 1960Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, Ñuñoa, Chile Chile2–04–1International friendly
21.19 April 1961Ninian Park, Cardiff, Wales Wales2–12–11962 FIFA World Cup qualification
22.11 June 1961Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Sevilla, Spain Argentina2–02–0International friendly
23.23 November 1961Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain Morocco2–13–21962 FIFA World Cup qualification
ClubSeasonLeagueCupContinentalTotal
AppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
River Plate194400000000
194510000010
Total10000010
Huracán1946241100002411
Total241100002411
River Plate1947302700003027
1948231300642917
19491290000129
Total654900647153
Millonarios1949151600001516
19502923??0029+23+
19513432??0034+32+
19522419??0024+19+
Total10290?1000102+100
Real Madrid1953–54282700002827
1954–55302500203225
1955–56302400753729
1956–573031331094343
1957–583019777104436
1958–59302385764334
1959–60231253683423
1960–61232198413630
1961–622311841074122
1962–63131298212421
1963–64241111953417
Total28221650396452396307
Espanyol1964–652471+10025+8
1965–662341+16030+5
Total47112+26055+13
Career totals52137764517656661484

Honours

National Team

Club

Individual honours

Manager

References

General
Specific
  1. ^ (Spanish) "Di Stéfano Profile". Yahoo! Deportes España. http://es.eurosport.yahoo.com/fot/ftxt/alfredo_di_stefano.html. Retrieved 10 mar 2011. 
  2. ^ (Spanish) "Di Stéfano Profile". Realmadrid.com. http://www.realmadrid.com/cs/Satellite/es/1193040475259/1202732249389/contenido/Entrenador/Alfredo_Stefano__Di_Stefano_Laulhe.htm. Retrieved 8 mar 2011. 
  3. ^ Brian Glanville, Soccer. A history of the game: its players, and its strategy, Crown Publishers 1968, p. 154
  4. ^ http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/iffhs-century.html
  5. ^ http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/bestbest.html
  6. ^ http://bleacherreport.com/articles/42220-alfredo-di-stfano-the-greatest-footballer-of-all-time
  7. ^ Football's Greatest - Alfredo Di Stefano http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnaPY0Osz7k
  8. ^ (Spanish) "The birth of the Saeta Rubia". Clarin. 16 July 2005. Archived from the original on 13 December 2008. http://www.clarin.com/diario/2005/07/16/deportes/d-07303.htm. Retrieved 1 December 2008. 
  9. ^ "Saeta Rubia (Movie)". http://icervantes.wordpress.com/1956/10/24/saeta-rubia/. Retrieved 1 December 2008. 
  10. ^ "Alfredo di Stefano – Saeta Rubia". AlbionRoad.com. 27 June 2008. Archived from the original on 20 October 2008. http://albionroad.com/articles/alfredo-di-stefano-saeta-rubia.html. Retrieved 1 December 2008. 
  11. ^ "Golden Players take centre stage" by UEFA.com
  12. ^ "Pele hits back in Maradona spat". BBC News. 17 September 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/internationals/8261803.stm. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  13. ^ "RSSSF.com – Various Lists of 'Players of the Century/All-Time'". http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/best-x-players-of-y.html. 
  14. ^ "Football world honors Real Madrid legend Di Stefano". China Daily. 19 February 2008. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2008-02/19/content_6464831.htm. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  15. ^ Jimmy Burns: Barca, a people's passion, Bloomsbury Publishing, London 1999
  16. ^ "1962 World Cup report by CBC/Radio Canada web site". Cbc.ca. http://www.cbc.ca/sports/worldcup2006/history/events/1962.html. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 
  17. ^ Di Stefano in serious condition, BBC News, 25 December 2005 accessed 23 November 2010

External links