Alfredo Di Stéfano (1926-2014)

Argentinean Soccer Player

Ask any young football fan who is the greatest football player to have ever walked on earth and they are likely to tell you Lionel Messi or Christiano Ronaldo. Those familiar with football history may mention Diego Maradona or Pelé.  And the while the aforementioned are great in their own unique ways, before them all was Alfredo Di Stéfano.

Di Stéfano was an Argentinean player born on July 4, 1926 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His dalliance with football started at a tender age, as he played with a rubber ball with his age mates. When he came of age, he joined local football teams where he honed his skills.

Slowly but surely, his football star was rising and in 1947 he was among the Argentinean national team that won the Copa America Cup. He was nicknamed the Blond Arrow for his hair colour and speed.

In 1949, Di Stéfano moved to Colombia and he thrived even more as he led his club to win the championships in 1949, 1951 and 1952. By now, the world had taken notice of his football prowess and after the 1953 season, football giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona were battling out to sign him.

Real Madrid won the bidding and Di Stéfano proved he was worth his salt by leading the club to winning a whopping eight La Liga (Spanish football top division) titles and five European Cup championships, making him the sixth highest scorer in the history of La Liga and Real Madrid’s third highest scorer of all time.

He was the Ballon d’Or Winner in the years 1957 and 1959. He went on to win one more La Liga title in 1964 with Real Madrid before moving to another Spanish club. He announced his retirement in 1966 at the prime age of 40. Di Stéfano moved into coaching and spent the next two decades coaching different clubs. He was indicted into the FIFA Hall of Fame in October 2011.

Di Stéfano suffered a heart attack on July 5, 2014, while in Madrid, Spain. He passed on two days later at the age of 88.