Alfredo Di Stéfano

Alfredo Di Stéfano

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For other uses, see Alfredo Di Stéfano (disambiguation).

This article uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Di Stéfano and the second or maternal family name is Laulhé.

Alfredo Di Stéfano

Di stefano argentina.jpg

Di Stéfano with Argentina in 1947

Personal information

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

1.76 m (5 ft 9 12 in)

Playing position

Forward

Senior career*

Years

Team

Apps

(Gls)

1945–1949

River Plate

66

(49)

1945–1946

→ Huracán (loan)

25

(10)

1949–1953

Millonarios

101

(90)

1953–1964

Real Madrid

282

(216)

1964–1966

Espanyol

47

(11)

Total

 

521

(376)

National team

1947

Argentina

6

(6)

1951–1952

Colombia

4

(0)

1957–1962

Spain

31

(23)

Teams managed

1967–1968

Elche

1969–1970

Boca Juniors

1970–1974

Valencia

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

Alfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano Laulhé (Spanish pronunciation: [alˈfɾeðo ði esˈtefano]; 4 July 1926 – 7 July 2014) was an Argentine professional footballer and coach. He is regarded as one of the best footballers of all time, and is best known for his achievements with Real Madrid, where he was instrumental in the club’s domination of the European Cup and La Liga during the 1950s. 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, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.

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”.

Contents

  • 1Early life
  • 2Club career
  • 3International career
  • 4Kidnapping in Caracas
  • 5Managerial career
  • 6After retirement
  • 7Death
  • 8Personal life
  • 9Career statistics

    • 9.1Club
    • 9.2International
    • 9.3International goals

      • 9.3.1For Argentina
      • 9.3.2For Spain
  • 10Honours

    • 10.1Player
    • 10.2Manager
    • 10.3Records
  • 11References
  • 12External links

Early life

Di Stefano's youth membership card at River Plate.

Di Stefano’s youth membership card at 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 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 career

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c7/La_Maquina_1947.jpg/220px-La_Maquina_1947.jpg

Di Stéfano with La Maquina in 1947.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/de/Di_stefano_real_madrid_cf_%28cropped%29.png/180px-Di_stefano_real_madrid_cf_%28cropped%29.png

Di Stéfano scoring a goal for Real Madrid where he won 15 official titles

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 seven players, initially Real Madrid’s Raúl in 2005 and most recently by Karim Benzema in 2016 and Robert Lewandowski in 2018.

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.

He was awarded the Ballon d’Or for the European Footballer of the Year in 1957 and 1959. He moved to Espanyol in 1964 and played there until retiring at the age of 40.

International career

Di Stéfano played with three different national teams during his career. He most notably played six times with the Argentine national team, and 31 times with the Spanish national team, scoring 23 goals. However, he never played in the World Cup. The player also played four times for Colombia, during the Dimayor period of Colombian football. The team at the time was not recognised by FIFA as the league had broken transfer rules in signing players while still under contract.

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.

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 to become one of only a few players born outside Spain to have appeared for their national team. 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 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, 42 years before.

Managerial career

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Distafanomillonarios.JPG/170px-Distafanomillonarios.JPG

Di Stéfano’s memorabilia at the Real Madrid museum

After retirement, he moved into coaching. He guided the Argentine club Boca Juniors to league title, 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.

After retirement

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.

Death

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, where he died on 7 July 2014.

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.

Personal life

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

Career statistics

Club

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 (loan)

1946

25

10

2

0

0

0

27

10

Total

25

10

2

0

0

0

27

10

River Plate

1947

30

27

0

0

2

1

32

28

1948

23

13

1

1

6

4

30

18

1949

12

9

0

0

0

0

12

9

Total

66

49

1

1

8

5

75

55

Millonarios

1949

14

16

0

0

0

0

14

16

1950

29

23

2

1

0

0

31

24

1951

34

32

4?

4?

0

0

38?

36?

1952

24

19

4?

5?

0

0

28?

24?

Total

101

90

10

10

0

0

111

100

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

9

2

1

24

22

1963–64

24

11

1

1

9

5

34

17

Total

282

216

50

40

64

52

396

308

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

70

54

78

57

669

487

International

Argentina

Year

Apps

Goals

1947

6

6

Total

6

6

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

Scores and results list Argentina’s goal tally first.

#

Date

Venue

Opponent

Score

Result

Competition

1.

4 December 1947

Estadio George Capwell, Guayaquil, Ecuador

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/de/Flag_of_Bolivia_%28state%29.svg/22px-Flag_of_Bolivia_%28state%29.svg.png
 Bolivia

6–0

7–0

1947 South American Championship

2.

11 December 1947

Estadio George Capwell, Guayaquil, Ecuador

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/df/Flag_of_Peru_%28state%29.svg/23px-Flag_of_Peru_%28state%29.svg.png
 Peru

2–1

3–2

1947 South American Championship

3.

16 December 1947

Estadio George Capwell, Guayaquil, Ecuador

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/78/Flag_of_Chile.svg/23px-Flag_of_Chile.svg.png
 Chile

1–0

1–1

1947 South American Championship

4.

18 December 1947

Estadio George Capwell, Guayaquil, Ecuador

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/21/Flag_of_Colombia.svg/23px-Flag_of_Colombia.svg.png
 Colombia

2–0

6–0

1947 South American Championship

5.

18 December 1947

Estadio George Capwell, Guayaquil, Ecuador

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/21/Flag_of_Colombia.svg/23px-Flag_of_Colombia.svg.png
 Colombia

5–0

6–0

1947 South American Championship

6.

18 December 1947

Estadio George Capwell, Guayaquil, Ecuador

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/21/Flag_of_Colombia.svg/23px-Flag_of_Colombia.svg.png
 Colombia

6–0

6–0

1947 South American Championship

For Spain

Scores and results list Spain’s goal tally first.

#

Date

Venue

Opponent

Score

Result

Competition

1.

30 January 1957

Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/20/Flag_of_the_Netherlands.svg/23px-Flag_of_the_Netherlands.svg.png
 Netherlands

2–0

5–1

Friendly

2.

30 January 1957

Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/20/Flag_of_the_Netherlands.svg/23px-Flag_of_the_Netherlands.svg.png
 Netherlands

4–0

5–1

Friendly

3.

30 January 1957

Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/20/Flag_of_the_Netherlands.svg/23px-Flag_of_the_Netherlands.svg.png
 Netherlands

5–1

5–1

Friendly

4.

31 March 1957

King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/92/Flag_of_Belgium_%28civil%29.svg/23px-Flag_of_Belgium_%28civil%29.svg.png
 Belgium

1–0

5–0

Friendly

5.

31 March 1957

King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/92/Flag_of_Belgium_%28civil%29.svg/23px-Flag_of_Belgium_%28civil%29.svg.png
 Belgium

4–0

5–0

Friendly

6.

24 November 1957

Stade olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne, Switzerland

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f3/Flag_of_Switzerland.svg/16px-Flag_of_Switzerland.svg.png
  Switzerland

2–0

4–1

1958 FIFA World Cup qualification

7.

24 November 1957

Stade olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne, Switzerland

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f3/Flag_of_Switzerland.svg/16px-Flag_of_Switzerland.svg.png
  Switzerland

3–0

4–1

1958 FIFA World Cup qualification

8.

13 April 1958

Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5c/Flag_of_Portugal.svg/23px-Flag_of_Portugal.svg.png
 Portugal

1–0

1–0

Friendly

9.

28 February 1959

Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/03/Flag_of_Italy.svg/23px-Flag_of_Italy.svg.png
 Italy

1–0

1–1

Friendly

10.

28 June 1959

Stadion Śląski, Chorzów, Poland

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/12/Flag_of_Poland.svg/23px-Flag_of_Poland.svg.png
 Poland

2–1

4–2

1960 European Nations’ Cup qualifying

11.

28 June 1959

Stadion Śląski, Chorzów, Poland

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/12/Flag_of_Poland.svg/23px-Flag_of_Poland.svg.png
 Poland

4–1

4–2

1960 European Nations’ Cup qualifying

12.

14 October 1959

Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/12/Flag_of_Poland.svg/23px-Flag_of_Poland.svg.png
 Poland

1–0

3–0

1960 European Nations’ Cup qualifying

13.

22 November 1959

Mestalla, Valencia, Spain

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/41/Flag_of_Austria.svg/23px-Flag_of_Austria.svg.png
 Austria

1–0

6–3

Friendly

14.

22 November 1959

Mestalla, Valencia, Spain

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/41/Flag_of_Austria.svg/23px-Flag_of_Austria.svg.png
 Austria

5–2

6–3

Friendly

15.

13 March 1960

Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/03/Flag_of_Italy.svg/23px-Flag_of_Italy.svg.png
 Italy

2–1

3–1

Friendly

16.

10 July 1960

Estadio Nacional, Lima, Peru

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/df/Flag_of_Peru_%28state%29.svg/23px-Flag_of_Peru_%28state%29.svg.png
 Peru

1–0

3–1

Friendly

17.

14 July 1960

Estadio Nacional, Santiago, Chile

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/78/Flag_of_Chile.svg/23px-Flag_of_Chile.svg.png
 Chile

1–0

4–0

Friendly

18.

14 July 1960

Estadio Nacional, Santiago, Chile

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/78/Flag_of_Chile.svg/23px-Flag_of_Chile.svg.png
 Chile

2–0

4–0

Friendly

19.

17 July 1960

Estadio Nacional, Santiago, Chile

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/78/Flag_of_Chile.svg/23px-Flag_of_Chile.svg.png
 Chile

1–0

4–1

Friendly

20.

17 July 1960

Estadio Nacional, Santiago, Chile

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/78/Flag_of_Chile.svg/23px-Flag_of_Chile.svg.png
 Chile

2–0

4–1

Friendly

21.

19 April 1961

Ninian Park, Cardiff, Wales

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a9/Flag_of_Wales_%281959%E2%80%93present%29.svg/23px-Flag_of_Wales_%281959%E2%80%93present%29.svg.png
 Wales

2–1

2–1

1962 FIFA World Cup qualification

22.

11 June 1961

Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Sevilla, Spain

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1a/Flag_of_Argentina.svg/23px-Flag_of_Argentina.svg.png
 Argentina

2–0

2–0

Friendly

23.

23 November 1961

Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2c/Flag_of_Morocco.svg/23px-Flag_of_Morocco.svg.png
 Morocco

2–1

3–2

1962 FIFA World Cup qualification

Honours

Player

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/67/Alfredo_Di_Stefano_River_Plate.jpg/180px-Alfredo_Di_Stefano_River_Plate.jpg

Di Stéfano won the Primera División and the Copa Aldao with River Plate in 1947.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bb/Mcu_Alfredo_Di_Stefano.jpg/180px-Mcu_Alfredo_Di_Stefano.jpg

Di Stéfano won the South American Championship with Argentina in 1947.

River Plate

  • Primera División: 1945, 1947
  • Copa Aldao: 1947

Millonarios

  • Colombian Championship: 1949, 1951, 1952
  • Copa Colombia: 1953
  • Pequeña Copa del Mundo de Clubes: 1953

Real Madrid

  • Primera División: 1953–54, 1954–55, 1956–57, 1957–58, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64
  • Copa del Rey: 1962
  • European Cup: 1955–56, 1956–57, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1959–60
  • Intercontinental Cup: 1960

Argentina

  • South American Championship: 1947

Individual

  • Argentine Primera División top scorer: 1947
  • Campeonato Profesional top scorer: 1951, 1952
  • Pichichi Trophy: 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959
  • Ballon d’Or: 1957, 1959

    • Super Ballon d’Or: 1989
  • European Cup top scorer: 1958, 1962
  • Spanish Player (Athlete) of the Year: 1957, 1959, 1960, 1964
  • FIFA Order of Merit: 1994
  • World Soccer World XI: 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964
  • World Team of the 20th Century: 1998
  • FIFA 100: 2004
  • UEFA Jubilee Awards – Golden Player of Spain: 2004
  • Golden Foot: 2004, as football legend
  • UEFA President’s Award: 2007
  • World Soccer Greatest XI of all time: 2013
  • IFFHS Legends

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fd/Alfredo_di_Stefano_-_panoramio.jpg/180px-Alfredo_di_Stefano_-_panoramio.jpg

Di Stéfano’s Golden Foot award in “The Champions Promenade” on the seafront of the Principality of Monaco

Manager

Boca Juniors

  • Primera División: 1969
  • Copa Argentina: 1969

River Plate

  • Torneo Nacional: 1981

Valencia

  • Primera División: 1970–71
  • European Cup Winners’ Cup: 1979–80
  • Segunda División: 1986–87

Real Madrid

  • Supercopa de España: 1990

Records

  • 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
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