Alfredo Di Stéfano

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Alfredo Di Stéfano
Di stefano argentina.jpg
Alfredo Di Stéfano (1947)
Surname Alfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano Laulhe
birthday 4th July 1926
place of birth Buenos AiresArgentina
date of death 7th July 2014
Place of death MadridSpain
size 178 cm
position striker
Years station
1941-1945 River Plate
Years station Games (goals) 1
1945 River Plate 1 00(0)
1945-1946 →  CA Huracán  (loan) 25 0(10)
1946-1949 River Plate 65 0(49)
1949-1953 Los Millonarios CD 102 0(88)
1953-1964 real Madrid 282 (216)
1964-1966 Español Barcelona 47 0(11)
National team
Years selection Games (goals)
1947 Argentina 6 00(6)
1949 Colombia 4 ( unofficial ) 00(0)
1957-1961 Spain 31 0(23)
Stations as a trainer
Years station
1967 FC Elche
1969-1970 Boca Juniors
1970-1974 Valencia CF
1974 Sporting Lisbon
1975-1976 Rayo Vallecano
1976-1977 CD Castellón
1979-1980 Valencia CF
1981-1982 River Plate
1982-1984 real Madrid
1985 Boca Juniors
1986-1988 Valencia CF
1990-1991 real Madrid
1 Only league games are given.

Alfredo Di Stéfano Stéfano Laulhé (* 4. July 1926 in Buenos Aires , † 7. July 2014 in Madrid ) was an Argentine he football player and coach , in 1956 the Spanish citizenship had received. Since 2000 he has been honorary president of his long-term club Real Madrid .

Di Stéfano won the Argentine championship twice with River Plate ( 1945 , 1947 ). With CD Los Millionarios he won the Colombian championship four times ( 1949 , 1951 , 1952 , 1953 ) and the Colombian Cup once (1953) as the head of the legendary "blue ballet" . In addition, during his most successful period as head of the legendary "white ballet" with Real Madrid, he won the Spanish championship eight times ( 1954 , 1955 , 1957 , 1958 , 1961 , 1962 , 1963 , 1964 ), once the Spanish Cup ( 1962 ), five times subsequently the European Champions Cup ( 1956 , 1957 , 1958 , 1959 , 1960 ), twice the Coupe Latine (1955, 1957) and once the World Cup for club football ( 1960 ).

With the Argentine national team , Di Stéfano won the South American Championship ( 1947 ). He also played with the Spanish national team and surprisingly missed qualifying for the 1958 World Cup with them in 1957 .

As a coach, he won the Argentine Championship twice (1969, 1981) in his numerous coaching stations (Spain, Portugal, Argentina ), once with Boca Juniors and once with its arch-rivals River Plate . He also won the Spanish championship ( 1971 ) and the European Cup Winners' Cup ( 1980 ) with Valencia CF. He was also promoted to the Primera División with Valencia (1987). With Real Madrid he won the Supercopa de España (1990) as a coach .

The striker was the top scorer in Argentina (1947), Colombia (1952, 1952) and Spain (1954, 1956 to 1959), as well as at the European Cup (1958, 1962).

Di Stéfano was twice awarded the Ballón d'Or for European Footballer of the Year (1957, 1959). He was the only player in history to be awarded the Súper Ballón d'Or (1989) for Europe's football player for the last three decades. He is also part of Pelé's FIFA 100 and came fourth in the FIFA election for “Player of the Century”. In 2007 he received the UEFA President's Award and in 2008 he was named UEFA Honorary President. Since 2000 he has been Honorary President of Real Madrid . In his honor, the Real Madrid Castilla sports facility (since 2006) bears the name Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano or the Alfredo Di Stéfano Trophy ( Marca ) for the best player in the Primera División .

Di Stéfano died at the age of 88 as a result of a heart attack in a hospital in Madrid. At the 2014 World Cup , a minute of silence was put in his memory before the start of the semi-final match between Argentina and the Netherlands and Argentina played with a black ribbon .

Club career

Origin and beginnings

Alfredo Di Stéfano was born on July 4, 1926 as the eldest son of Alfredo Di Stéfano Senior and his wife Eulalia (née Laulhé Gilmont) of French descent in Buenos Aires. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent (Michele Di Stefano , in Italian without an accent) and immigrated to Argentina from the island of Capri . The family lived in the Barracas district , where the father ran a cattle farm. The young Alfredo's passion for football began in the streets and backyards of this district on the south-eastern outskirts of the metropolis, and from early childhood he chased a ball with his siblings or the children of the neighborhood. The enthusiasm for this sport had been instilled in him, as it were, because his father injected him with a love for River Plate, the club for which he himself was once active (from 1910 to 1912), and promoted the boy's talent. After Alfredo was initially active in district teams such as Unidos y Venceremos and Imán , he completed a trial training at River Plate in 1941. The youth coaches were completely convinced of his abilities and gave the talent a place in the Millonarios youth department . From then on, Di Stéfano received football training there and was promoted to the reserve team in 1944. Due to his achievements, he soon became a candidate for the professional squad.

River Plate (1945 to 1949)

Di Stéfano as a player for River Plate
In the jersey of CA Huracán (1946)
Di Stéfano as part of La maquina ( River Plates' miracle
storm ), 1947

River Plate was considered to be by far the best club team in South America in the 1940s. The guarantee of success was the miracle storm called La Máquina (“The Machine”) around Adolfo Pedernera , Félix Loustau , Juan Carlos Muñoz , Ángel Labruna and José Manuel Moreno , which presented the opponents in rows with almost unsolvable tasks. In 1945, the now 18-year-old Di Stéfano moved up to the squad of this exceptional team and made his debut on July 15 in the game against Club Atlético Huracán (2-1). However, since the experienced Adolfo Pedernera was set on the position of the center forward, Di Stéfano were given little chance of use, which is why he agreed to be loaned to Huracán to collect match practice can. In his first full professional season (1945/46) he played 25 league games for the suburban team and scored ten goals. After this successful stint, Di Stéfano returned confidently to River Plate. He was first a regular as a right winger, but coach José María Minella soon recognized his qualities as a goalscorer and ordered him into the center of the attack. Due to his robust physique, his breathtaking speed and unbelievable tempo dribbles, he prevailed in the position of the center forward and ousted old star Pedernera, who moved to Club Atlético Atlanta . With 27 goals in 30 games, Di Stéfano was top scorer and made a significant contribution to winning the Argentine championship. The press and fans were enthusiastic about the blonde striker and nicknamed him La Saeta Rubia (“The blonde arrow”) because of his hair color and enormous speed .

CD Los Millonarios (1949 to 1953)

In 1948/49, persistent disputes between the league association and the FAA players' union hindered the regular operations of the Argentine Primera División. The union called protracted player strikes to enforce minimum wages for professionals. As a result of these disputes, numerous Argentine stars sought their luck abroad, many of them moved to Colombia to play in the professional league Dimayor, founded in 1948 . The Dimayor was de facto a spin-off from the official association and took no account of the modalities customary at the time, such as timely releases from clubs and transfer payments, which led to the country's temporary exclusion from the world association FIFA. On the advice of Pederneras, who held a leading position in the players' union, Di Stéfano moved to Colombia with his teammate Néstor Rossi . Unbeknownst to River Plates, which received no transfer compensation, both signed a contract with the financially strong capital city club CD Los Millonarios in August 1949 . Its president and patron was the extremely wealthy entrepreneur Alfonso Senior Quevedo , a co-founder of Dimayor. At the end of the season, the Millonarios were tied with Deportivo Cali at the top of the table, but prevailed in the necessary playoffs (1-0, 3-1) and finally won the first championship title in their club's history. The team, which went down in history as Balet Azul ("Blue Ballet") due to its outstanding short passing game, dominated the Dimayor. From 1951 to 1953 three more championships and a cup victory in 1953 followed . Di Stéfano became the undisputed star, who with his goals (top scorer in 1951 and 1952) and outstanding performances made a significant contribution to the successes. In addition, the Millonarios attracted attention at friendly games in Europe. Especially in the tournament on the 50th anniversary of Real Madrid in 1952, Di Stéfano impressed the professional world and the board of the “Royal”, who had to admit defeat to the South Americans 2: 4.

Real Madrid (1953 to 1964)

Memorabilia from Di Stéfano in the Museum of Real Madrid
Turbulent change

The management of Real Madrid was enthusiastic about Di Stéfano's achievements and the desire to sign this exceptional talent became a real obsession. But with FC Barcelona , another top Spanish club had expressed interest and intensively advertised the services of the 25-year-old Argentinian. The Catalans transferred four million pesetas (around 217,000 euros ) to River Plate. At that time, Di Stéfano was under contract with CD Los Millonarios in Bogotá , but since the Colombians had not paid any transfer fee to River Plate when he signed, FIFA had decided that after the end of the contract in Colombia, the transfer rights for Di Stéfano would be returned to River Plate would fall back. Di Stéfano therefore traveled to Spain to Barcelona. But now Real Madrid was also active in the transfer market and one of the strangest transfer deals in football history took its course. After a transfer dispute between Real and Barça in 1950 because of the commitment of László Kubala , at the end of which the Hungarian moved to Barcelona, ​​Real President Santiago Bernabéu did not want to be outdone again. Bernabéu therefore turned to CD Los Millonarios, which held the transfer rights to Di Stéfano until December 31, 1954, and paid 1.5 million pesetas (around 81,000 euros), but also agreed to compensate River Plate. This created the unique situation that two clubs had paid transfer fees and the Spanish association had to make a decision as to which of the two the player should switch to. In accordance with the Spanish Ministry of Sports, the association decided on September 15, 1953 that Di Stéfano should play two seasons for Real Madrid (1953/54 and 1955/56) and two seasons for FC Barcelona (1954/55 and 1956/57) . But Barcelona did not agree with this decision and moved away from a commitment, even though Di Stéfano had already played for them in friendly games. This had seemed listless and weak in shape, which is why it was decided to forego the transfer, but insisted on payment of compensation by Madrid. Bernabéu compensated the Catalans in the amount of four million pesetas, bringing the total volume of the Di Stéfano business to the record sum of 5.5 million pesetas (around 298,000 euros). These events further exacerbated the traditional rivalry between the two clubs, and Barcelona officials subsequently claimed that they had refrained from signing Di Stéfano only under pressure from the Franco government .

Founder of the most successful era in the club's history

On September 23, 1953, this was officially presented by Bernabéu as a new addition and made his debut in the friendly against AS Nancy (2-4). The commitment of Di Stéfano turned out to be a real stroke of luck for the “Royal”, as it ushered in the most successful era in the club's history that established the “Real Madrid myth”. In his first season 1953/54 Di Stéfano was top scorer ( Pichichi ) with 27 goals and led the team to the long-awaited third championship after 21 years of waiting. Di Stéfano's performance against FC Barcelona was extraordinary when he single-handedly humiliated his big rival in a 5-0 win with four goals. The exceptional footballer had long since earned himself the nickname “Die Lanzenspitze” because of his dangerousness and his presence in the opposing penalty area. Di Stéfano's surprising advances presented almost every defense with huge problems. With his innate leadership, high professionalism and the introduction of the short passing game, he made a fundamental change in the game of Real Madrid and made it the world's best club team of that time. The team from the fifties and early sixties, which was soon to dominate Europe as well as the domestic league, went down in football annals as the “white ballet”. It was playful all along the line and the elegant, technically demanding football was reminiscent of a ballet performance with Di Stéfano as the conductor. Other exceptional players such as Héctor Rial , Francisco Gento , Raymond Kopa , Ferenc Puskás and José Santamaría found their way to the “royal”, who were soon described as invincible. Despite this accumulation of top-class individuals, Di Stéfano was always the undisputed leader of the team and the other players unconditionally subordinated themselves to his leadership. In the Primera División he celebrated eight championships with Real Madrid (1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1961 to 1964) and one cup victory (1962). In addition to the successes at national level, the newly launched European Cup brought great fame. Real secured the coveted trophy in the first five editions of the competition, an unprecedented milestone in football: 1956 4: 3 against Stade Reims , 1957 2: 0 against Fiorentina , 1958 3: 2 afterwards. against AC Milan , 2-0 against Stade Reims in 1959 and 7-3 against Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 . Di Stéfano had managed the feat of scoring a goal in every final, against Frankfurt he even scored three times. Winning the World Cup in 1960 completed the collection of titles. The Franco regime , which was isolated in terms of foreign policy, knew how to use these international successes and propaganda stylized Real Madrid as an international showpiece.

Style of play

Di Stéfano's style of play was characterized by particular elegance and on the lawn he was surrounded by the natural aura of a grand seigneur. He was not just an enforcer waiting for his chances in the center of the storm, he could be characterized as a complete player whose radius of action extended from his own to the opposing penalty area. Often, "the general" dropped back into midfield to organize his team's development game as a playmaker . In particular, the interaction with his congenial partner Ferenc Puskás is to be emphasized, whose arrival in 1958 united the playing style of La Máquina with that of the golden eleven of Hungary . The 7-3 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in the final of the European Cup in 1960 was the climax of the "white ballet" and the interplay between Di Stéfano, who scored three goals, and Puskás, who contributed the remaining four goals. Despite all his individual abilities, Di Stéfano always put himself at the service of his team and, as a charismatic leader, never wanted to stand out from his teammates. He always attributed his triumphs to a functioning team game: “Football gave me everything. I've always seen it as a team game and made it clear that I don't want to be adored, I want to play. And to do that you have to run and sweat. ”The sports newspaper France Football recognized his skills by awarding Di Stéfano twice (1957 and 1959) the Ballon D'Or as European Footballer of the Year.

End of club career at Real Madrid

In 1961, the aura of the invincibility of Real Madrid on the European stage was broken. In the first round of the European Cup they were eliminated by FC Barcelona, ​​the following year they were defeated in the final Benfica Lisbon (3: 5). Likewise, the championships of the sixties no longer had the splendor of previous years, and Di Stéfano also had to pay tribute to the increasing age. After losing the final for the 1964 European Cup against Inter Milan (1: 3), club president Bernabéu wanted to convince the now 38-year-old Di Stéfano to end his active career and take over the post of sports director . Di Stéfano, who had exercised considerable influence on the club's transfer policy in recent years, wanted to continue his career and turned it down. No agreement was reached and the later honorary president left Madrid in strife to join Espanyol Barcelona . The defeat against Inter Milan on May 27, 1964 was Di Stéfano's last competitive game for the "Royal". During his eleven years in the crisp white Real Jersey, he played 396 competitive games and scored 307 goals (Primera División: 282/216; Copa del Rey: 50/39; European Cup: 58/49; Others: 6/3). That made Di Stéfano the club's record goalscorer for over four decades before Raúl beat that mark . In addition, he was the first player ever to become the top scorer in the Primera División four times in a row, which was only achieved by Hugo Sánchez (1985 to 1988) after him .


In his time at Real Di Stefano in 1963 as part of a trip to Venezuela victim of a kidnapping by the FALN . Early in the morning there was a knock on his hotel room in Caracas , and three uniformed men stood in front of his door. They identified themselves as police officers and asked the Argentine to accompany them to the police station. The footballer is said to be under suspicion of possessing drugs - as it turned out, just an excuse. With the assumption that he was merely the victim of a major misunderstanding, di Stéfano accompanied the group. The alleged police officers later revealed in the car to be from the FALN group, a left-wing guerrilla organization. The kidnappers made it clear that they would take him hostage, but that nothing would happen to him if he followed the rules. The separatist movement, consisting of regime critics, revolutionaries and radicalized members of the communist party, had set itself the goal of protesting against the government of the then Venezuelan President Rónulo Betancourt - and the idea paid off. By kidnapping the most successful footballer of the time, the FALN was well represented in the media and the public. The kidnapping has graced the covers of magazines around the world. The success of the campaign was a stroke of luck for Di Stéfano. Because the only goal - to raise awareness of the situation in Venezuela - was achieved with the kidnapping, the Argentine was released after 72 hours in custody. The kidnappers took the player to Avenida Libertadores and asked him to get out. There he took a taxi and drove to the Spanish embassy. Despite the exertion, the victim demonstrated understanding for the goals and concerns of the movement: they were altruists who have ideals, the footballer then showed himself to be empathetic . Ultimately, he got away with the horror and was unharmed. At the request of board member Bernabéu, he was already back on his calling on the day of his release, playing one half against São Paulo before being replaced due to exhaustion. In retrospect, reports circulated that he had played cards and chess with his kidnappers while in captivity, as if the Argentine had made new friends. Whether he remained in contact with his tormentors is not reported.

RCD Espanyol Barcelona (1964 to 1966)

In 1964 Di Stéfano Espanyol joined Barcelona and let his active career fade away after two seasons ( 1964/65 : 11th and 1965/66 : 12th). Here there was a brief interaction with László Kubala, another legend of Spanish football.

On June 7, 1967 Alfredo Di Stéfano said goodbye to the football stage and ended his career. In his honor, a farewell game against Celtic Glasgow , the reigning winner of the European Cup, took place in front of 130,000 spectators at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu .

National team career

Di Stéfano during the
1947 South American Championship


In 1947, Argentina's national coach Guillermo Stábile called the 21-year-old Di Stéfano into the squad for the upcoming South American Championship ( Copa América ). There he made his debut on December 4th in the game against Bolivia (7-0) and scored a goal. The Argentine national soccer team was the outstanding team of the tournament and won the title with ease, while Di Stéfano scored six times in six appearances. Although his career in the national team had started promisingly, there were no more international matches because the players who played in Colombia were no longer nominated.


In 1949, he played four unofficial caps for Colombia that were not recognized by FIFA.


After Di Stéfano had obtained Spanish citizenship in 1956, the naturalized Argentine was henceforth eligible to play for the Spanish national team. On January 30, 1957, he ran for the first time for the Selección and scored twice in the 5-0 win against the Netherlands . Despite outstanding players such as Di Stéfano, Francisco Gento , Luis Suárez or László Kubala , Spain surprisingly missed qualifying for the 1958 World Cup . She succeeded four years later for the tournament in Chile ; In addition to Di Stéfano, the also naturalized Hungarian Ferenc Puskás was part of the squad. A stubborn muscle injury prevented the now 36-year-old veteran from a mission, which is why the friendly against France on December 10, 1961 was Di Stéfano's last international match. He joins the ranks of world-class players such as Ryan Giggs ( Wales ), George Best ( Northern Ireland ) and George Weah ( Liberia ) who never played in a World Cup.

Title, achievements and awards as a player


National team

Individual awards

The Súper Ballón d'Or (center) and the two Ballón d'Ors by Alfredo Di Stéfano

Career statistics as a club player

1945 to 1966
society league season league Nat. Cup Int. Cup Other total
Games Gates Games Gates Games Gates Games Gates Games Gates
River Plate Primera División 1945 1 0 - - - - - - 1 0
CA Huracan Primera División 1946 25th 10 - - - - - - 25th 10
River Plate Primera División 1947 30th 27 - - - - - - 30th 27
1948 23 13 - - 6th 4th - - 29 17th
1949 12 9 - - - - - - 12 9
total 91 59 - - 6th 4th - - 97 63
Los Millonarios CD Dimayor 1949 15th 16 - - - - - - 15th 16
1950 29 23 2 1 - - - - 31 24
1951 34 32 ? ? - - - - 34 32
1952 24 19th ? ? - - - - 24 19th
total 102 90 2 1 - - - - 104 91
real Madrid Primera División 1953/54 28 27 - - - - - - 28 27
1954/55 30th 25th - - 2 0 - - 32 25th
1955/56 30th 24 - - 7th 5 - - 37 29
1956/57 30th 31 3 3 8th 7th 2 2 43 43
1957/58 30th 19th 7th 7th 7th 10 - - 44 36
1958/59 28 23 8th 5 7th 6th - - 43 34
1959/60 23 12 5 3 6th 8th - - 34 23
1960/61 23 21st 9 8th 2 0 2 1 36 30th
1961/62 23 11 8th 4th 10 7th - - 41 22nd
1962/63 13 12 9 8th 2 1 - - 24 21st
1963/64 24 11 1 1 9 5 - - 34 17th
total 282 216 50 39 60 49 4th 3 396 307
Espanyol Barcelona Primera División 1964/65 24 7th 3 2 - - - - 27 9
1965/66 23 4th 4th 1 - - 6th 0 33 5
total 47 11 7th 3 - - 6th 0 60 14th
Career total 522 376 67 52 66 53 10 3 665 484

Career as a trainer and functionary

Di Stéfano as coach of Boca Juniors , 1969

Following his playing career, Di Stéfano stayed in the football business and took over the coaching position of FC Elche in 1967 . He won his first coaching title in 1969 when he led the Boca Juniors to the Argentine championship. He returned to Spain to take over Valencia CF, which he coached for a total of four years (Di Stéfano's longest stint as head coach) and was champion in 1971 . After various positions, he took over FC Valencia twice, which he led to winning the European Cup Winners' Cup (1980) and later back to the Primera División. He also looked after Real Madrid twice and River Plate once (champions 1981). Di Stéfano ended his coaching career in 1991 with his old club Real Madrid. He was Honorary President there since 2000. He later also became Honorary President of UEFA in 2008.

Titles, successes and awards as trainer and functionary

titles and achievements

Boca Juniors

River Plate

Valencia CF

real Madrid


Web links

Commons : Alfredo Di Stéfano  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. On this day, Di Stéfano won the Super Ballon dOr | Real Madrid CF. Retrieved September 1, 2019 .
  2. a b IFFHS 'Century Elections , accessed on November 28, 2012 (English)
  3. Alfredo DiStefano, del fútbol de Cardales para el mundo | La Semana Ya. December 20, 2016, accessed September 1, 2019 .
  4. Werner Antweiler: The Pacific Exchange Rate Service , University of British Columbia (Sauder School of Business)
    According to the tables published, 1 US dollar officially corresponded to 39.65 Spanish pesetas or 4.20 German marks in 1953 , which is a value of 0.106 German marks calculated for 1 Spanish peseta.
  5. ^ Abduction 1963 , report on of April 7, 2018, accessed on September 4, 2018
  6. ^ RP ONLINE: Football International: Di Stefano becomes UEFA Honorary President. Retrieved September 1, 2019 .