Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is the latest figure from the world of football to pay tribute to the late Alfredo Di Stefano, following the 88-year-old’s death on Monday after suffering a heart attack three days earlier.
Don Alfredo leaves us, but his memory will last forever in our hearts. Legends never die. Thanks for everything Maestro. #EternoAlfredo— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) July 7, 2014
Widely considered one of the greatest players of all-time, Di Stefano won five straight European Cups with Real Madrid, scoring in every final between 1956 and 1960, as well as eight Spanish league titles.
Joining Real in 1953 from Colombian side Millionarios, the former River Plate forward would go on to form a legendary partnership with Ferenc Puskas following the Hungarian’s arrival in 1958, scoring an incredible 307 goals in 396 games during his 11 seasons with the club.
Eventually leaving for Espanyol in 1964 at the age of 38, Di Stefano would play two more seasons in Spain before retiring with his status as one of the legends of the game firmly cemented.
Infamously never appearing at a World Cup, the prolific playmaker was a member of Spain’s 1962 squad but never saw the field due to injury, having previously represented both Argentina and Colombia at the international level.
He would go on to try his hand at management following his retirement, taking charge of Real for two separate spells, before later being named the team’s Honorary President in 2000, a position he held until his death.
At a press conference to announce his passing, club President Florentino Perez labelled Di Stefano the best footballer of all-time and went on to acknowledge the impact he had had on the game.
‘Today is a day of absolute sadness for Real Madrid and dare I say it the entire football world,’ he said. ‘Di Stefano was the most important player in the history of Real Madrid and the best footballer of all time.
‘Alfredo Di Stefano is Real Madrid. He was decisive, determined and changed the destiny of this institution. He was able to extend the passion for Real Madrid to all corners of the world.
‘We have the obligation to tell people that didn’t see it about a footballer who was capable of everything.
‘Alfredo Di Stefano, president of honour, Real Madrid will never forget you.’