One of the best Argentinian footballers of all time and the legend of Spanish football, in this article we want to take a look at Alfredo Di Stefano biography.
Alfredo Di Stefano, born on 4 July 1926 in Buenos Aires, who died on 7 July 2014 in Madrid, was an Argentine footballer and coach who became a Spanish citizen. He was a legendary player for the clubsRiver Plate
, where from 2000 until his death he was honorary president of them. As a player, he owes his greatest successes and worldwide recognition to Real Madrid, who was their all-time top scorer for many years. He is considered one of the greatest players of all time.
As a player, he was capped by two countries, a circumstance permitted at the time, playing six matches for theArgentina national team
and thirty-one for theSpanish national team
after adopting its nationality in 1956. However, he never played in aWorld Cup
- the most prestigious tournament at the national team level - for various reasons, which has not prevented him from being considered one of the best players in the history of football and as the first great of the sport.
When he retired, he was the top scorer in the history of Real Madrid, where he played for eleven seasons-, followed by his former teammate Ferenc Puskás, 65 goals behind, both being members of the famous "Madrid of Di Stefano" or "Madrid of the five European Cups", identified by UEFA as one of the best teams in history; he was also the player born in Argentina with the most official titles won at the time.
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Despite the considerations of FIFA and the IFFHS, his name is directly linked to that of the Madrid club, since - not in vain - his signing for the Spanish team changed the course of the history of that team until it was proclaimed the best club of the 20th century, thanks above all to the five consecutive European Cup finals won by the club during his time in Madrid, in which he scored a total of seven goals, being the historical record of the competition along with the aforementioned Puskás.
Di Stefano also stood out for his exquisite technical quality and his versatility on the pitch and has been described by experts, ex-footballers and fans as the most complete player that football has ever produced.
Now that we know him much better, in this section of
Alfredo Di Stefano biography
we will share some general information such as
Alfredo Di Stefano nationality
Alfredo Di Stefano Bio
Full Name: Alfredo Stefano Di Stefano Laulhé
Nickname: Saeta rubia
Profession: Professional Footballer
Alfredo Di Stefano Physical Stats
Weight: 80 Kg
Height: 1.78 Kg
Eye Color: Dark Brown
Hair Color: Blonde
Alfredo Di Stefano Football Information
Jersey Number: 9
Professional Debut: 1945
Alfredo Di Stefano Date of Birth and Personal Info
Date of Birth: 4 July 1926
Birth Place: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Zodiac Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Argentine – Spanish
Now stay tuned in this section of
Alfredo Di Stefano biography
as we want to share some information about
Alfredo Di Stefano childhood
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Born in Buenos Aires on 4 July 1926, Alfredo Di Stefano was the eldest son of Alfredo Di Stefano Senior and his wife Eulalia, of French origin. Alfredo's grandfather was of Italian origin and immigrated to Argentina from the island of Capri. His family resided in the Barracas district of Buenos Aires, where his father ran a cattle ranch.
The young Alfredo's passion for football started in the streets and backyards of this district on the south-eastern outskirts of the metropolis, and from a very early age, he chased a ball with his siblings or the children of the neighbourhood. The passion for this sport had been passed on to him, as it were because his father had instilled in him a love of River Plate, the club for which he himself had once played (from 1910 to 1912), and fostered the boy's talent.
Initially playing for local teams such as Unidos y Venceremos and Imán, Alfredo had a trial with River Plate in 1941. River Plate's youth coaches were totally convinced of his abilities and offered him a place in the Millonarios' youth team. There Di Stefano received further football training and was promoted to the reserve team in 1944. Thanks to his performances, he soon became a candidate for the professional squad.
He appeared in the first team in 1945, at the age of 19, and on 15 July of that year, he played his first match versusHuracán
in a match that took place on the twelfth day of the Argentine championship, which was lost 2-1. Despite the result, in Di Stefano's only match of the season, River Plate became champions.
During the only game he played in the previous season, the president of Huracan noticed him and asked him to go on loan to River Plate: at the Millonarios he didn't find any more space and the club wanted to send him on loan for one season to a first division team. Di Stefano spent a year on loan at Huracán, where he was coached by former Argentine striker Guillermo Stábile, who was also the coach of the Argentine national team at the time.
He scored the first two goals of his career in the 3-1 win over Estudiantes. He repeated his feat against his former team, scoring the fastest goal in the history of the Argentine championship after ten seconds of play. He also scored a goal against Ferro Carril Oeste, beating the more famous Mano de Dios. Given his excellent performances and 10 goals in 25 appearances, Huracan wanted to buy him back at the end of the season but did not have the ninety thousand pesos needed for the player.
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Back at River Plate, Di Stefano joined the Máquina taking the role of the leaving Pedernera, destined to Atlanta: he was used on a more regular basis and contributed considerably to the victory in the Argentine championship, of which he became top scorer with 27 goals. Peucelle deployed him in the role of offensive outside player, a position in which Di Stefano struggled to play; in the match against Pedernera's Atlanta, Peucelle decided to put him as the centre forward and River won 6-1.
Di Stefano established himself as River's centre forward and his teammates adapted to his game. During this period he obtained the nickname la Saeta Rubia, created by journalist Roberto Neuberger. In 1947 he left the team due to compulsory military service. In 1948, thanks to his league victory, he played in Santiago de Chile in the South American Champions Cup, River Plate finished second behind Vasco da Gama: he scored 4 goals in 6 games.
During the Argentine championship in 1948, the federation suspended the tournament due to protests of the players who went on strike to demand to become professionals, led by Pedernera and Di Stefano: the protest ended in 1949 with the departure of the best Argentine players to other leagues, in particular to the more lucrative Colombian one. On 31 July 1949, he played in the role of goalkeeper, replacing the incumbent Amadeo Carrizo for about twenty minutes and keeping his net unbroken in a derby win against Boca Juniors.
After the Superga tragedy, a friendly match was played between River Plate and Torino: Di Stefano was promised to the Granada, but the Argentinean footballer, contacted by Pedernera, agreed with the Colombian Millonarios, the team he signed for in 1949. On 9 August 1949, he secretly left for Colombia together with his teammate Néstor Rossi.
The president of River Plate did not receive any compensation for the transfer of the players because not being under the authority of FIFA, the Millonarios could afford not to pay the transfer fee. Obtaining a much higher salary than he received at River Plate, the Argentine signed the period called El Dorado, immediately winning the 1950 national championship (repeating in 1951 and 1953).
Facilitated by the altitude of the playing fields and a technical and athletic condition far superior to his opponents and teammates, including ex-River star Pedernera, Di Stefano dominated the matches, becoming top scorer with 31 and 20 goals in the years he won the Colombian championship. In 1953 he moved to Spain after having scored, also considering unofficial matches, 267 goals in 292 matches, which made him the best scorer of the team, one of the best in the history of Colombia.
Now stay tuned in this section of
Alfredo Di Stefano biography
as we want to share some information about his Real Madrid career.
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The Barcelona club had negotiated him with River Plate to buy the player. Di Stefano had already played three friendlies for Barcelona when Real Madrid entered the race: the capital club had spoken directly to Millonarios and began to consider themselves the owners of the rare gem. Sports Minister General Moscardo presented his solution: the Argentine would play alternate seasons for each team for four years, starting with Real. The deal was rejected by Barça, and Di Stefano would end up staying at Real.
His controversial move to Real made Barcelona feel betrayed. The rivalry between the two teams, not so strong until then, had started, increasing over the years due to the series of victories that Real would achieve with him leading the club on the pitch. Before Di Stefano arrived in 1953, the capital club was not the biggest club in the country, or even in the city: it had two titles in the Spanish league, which they had won more than twenty years ago. At the time, Barcelona (six),Athletic Bilbao
(three) had moreLa Liga
achievements than Real Madrid.
In his first season with Di Stefano, Real would win their third title, much to the credit of the 29 goals that made the Argentine star the top scorer in the tournament. A second straight league title followed in his second season. In 1955, he and Real would also win the Copa Latina, the most prestigious European club tournament at the time, which brought together the champions of Spain,France
and Portugal. The Spaniards beat the Portuguese side Os Belenenses and, in the final, the French sideReims
Di Stefano's second Spanish title, in turn, earned Real Madrid the right to be Spain's first representative at the UEFA Champions Cup, which was to have its first edition in the 1955/56 European season. This season, the Merengues would lose the Spanish title to Atlético Bilbao, but with Di Stefano again winning the top scorer award, and more importantly, with the Blancos winning the first edition of the new European tournament. Victory in the final was in another encounter with Reims. Di Stefano scored one of the goals, momentarily narrowing the opposition's partial victory to 2-1 with less than fifteen minutes to play. The cup would come to Spain after the team won 4-3.
The attacking line with his countryman Héctor Rial, Kopa and Spanish national team winger Francisco Gento would bear fruit in the 1956/57 season, with Real winning La Liga again. Real also won the last edition of the Copa Latina, which would be closed precisely because it lost its prestige in front of the Champions Cup. This time, they beat Milan, 5-1, and, 1-0 with a goal by Di Stefano.
That season was also marked by his move to the Spanish national team, as Rial had already been doing. The season that followed saw Real equalBarcelona
and Atlético Bilbao as the most successful winners of the Spanish League, and with Di Stefano again becoming a top scorer. The sequel also took place in the Champions Cup: for the third time in a row, the cup came to Real after a narrow 3-2 victory in a re-match with AC Milan, which featured established players such as Nils Liedholm and Juan Alberto Schiaffino. Di Stefano's goal was his first in aChampions League
For eleven years until 1964, Di Stefano was Real Madrid’s best player, leading them to glory both in Spain and the European competitions. During all these years he managed to score many goals and establish himself as one of the all-time legends of the Spanish club.
He left Real, but still remained an "enemy" of Barcelona, as he had moved to their other rival,Espanyol
, a Barcelona club with an image of being associated with the power of Madrid.
In Espanyol, he played alongside another Hungarian, László Kubala, a routine former enemy of Barcelona, a former team-mate of the Spanish national team and, curiously, another who became famous for playing for three countries. Di Stefano played two seasons for the Espanyol until he ended his career, at the age of 40, with, in addition to all the trophies, more than 800 goals scored. In 1966, he put on the Real Madrid jersey again for his farewell match, in a friendly against Scottish side Celtic.
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He officially played for two national teams, which was permitted at the time. He played six games for Argentina, making his international debut on 4 December 1947 at the George Capwell Stadium in Ecuador in a match for the 1947 South American Championship against Bolivia, which ended 7-0 and in which he scored a goal. During the tournament, he scored five more goals, including his first international hat-trick against Colombia, which helped his team to be crowned champions, his only and most important international victory during his career.
After his time in Colombia, and due to a break in the Colombian league, his team members organised national team matches under the name of the Colombian league XI - which was not the Colombian senior national team - in which he made four guest appearances, a fact that does not appear in the official FIFA records, besides the fact that he does not possess the Colombian nationality.
Once in Spain, Di Stefano became a Spanish citizen in 1956 - after a two-year delay - and so on 30 January 1957, he played his first match with the Spanish national team against the Netherlands, in which Spain won 5-1 with a hat-trick by Di Stefano - the only one he scored as a Spanish international. After almost five years in the red shirt, he made a total of 31 appearances and remained the top scorer in the team's history with 23 goals until Emilio Butragueño surpassed that record in 1990.
He lost only five of his matches, in which he also managed to score six braces. During his time in Spain, the player also played sporadically for the Madrid national team, an unofficial regional team that did not play in official competitions. Now stay tuned in this section of Alfredo Di Stefano biography as we want to share some information about his coaching career.
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After retiring as a footballer, he devoted himself to coaching several clubs, although he was unable to achieve the same success as a footballer. Elche was his first team as a coach, during the 1967-1968 season, however, in January he quit the team in the last place in La Liga to accept the job at Boca Juniors. Welcomed by the nationalist media as a traitor, at Boca he won the 1969 Nacional championship ahead of River Plate and San Lorenzo losing only one match.
In 1970 he joined Valencia, with whom he reached the final of the Spanish Cup, losing 4-3 in a comeback against Barcelona and won the championship ahead of the Catalans, Atlético and Real Madrid. In 1972 he came second in La Liga, behind Real Madrid, and found himself again in the final of the Spanish Cup: he lost 2-1 to Atlético Madrid after eliminating the Blancos in the semifinals. In the following years, he coached Sporting Lisbon -- only in the pre-season period failing to join for bureaucratic reasons.
He was the manager of Rayo Vallecano and Castellón, before returning to Valencia: in the 1979-1980 season, he finished sixth in the league and, after defeating Barcelona (3-5) and Nantes (2-5), reached the 1979-1980 Cup Winners' Cup final against Arsenal, overcoming the English team on penalties.
In 1981 he was at the helm of River Plate: he won the Nacional championship and then signed with Real Madrid. He took over from Vujadin Boskov, coaching for just under two years between 1982 and 1984, twice finishing second in the league, preceded on both occasions by Athletic Bilbao, who eliminated the club from the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey in 1984.
In 1983, he reached the last round of both the domestic cup and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, losing the finals 2-1 to Barça and Sir Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen respectively. In the 1983-1984 UEFA Cup, he was eliminated by Sparta Prague and was sacked at the end of the season. He returned to Boca Juniors (1985) and in February 1986 to Valencia, which he failed to save from relegation.
He returned to Madrid in Spain's top league at the end of the 1986-1987 season, ending his coaching career in 1991 with a Spanish Super Cup victory over Barcelona on the bench of Real Madrid, whom he coached for five months.
In 24 years as a coach, he managed to win 5 national titles (2 Argentine Championships, 1 Spanish Championship, 1 Spanish Supercup and 1 Segunda División) and 1 international title (the 1979-1980 Cup Winners' Cup with Valencia). As a coach he won titles with both River Plate and Boca Juniors, a rare feat for a coach, After finishing his career as a manager, he rejoined Real Madrid's technical staff in the role of advisor.
A superstar of immense talent, one of the most brilliant players in the history of football, he started his career as an outside forward on the right, but throughout his career, he grew and established himself as a centre forward. A powerful, fast, dynamic, long-lived, elegant striker with a great personality, Di Stefano was a tactically complete universal player capable of playing in every area of the field, when necessary also as an outside forward or full-back, changing Real Madrid's football and consequently Spanish football, as well as inspiring "total football".
He is considered by FIFA - football's supreme governing body - as one of the four best football players of the 20th century, along with Brazil's Pelé, Argentina's Diego Maradona and the Netherlands' Johan Cruyff. He was voted the fourth-best player of the 20th century by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics in 2004, as well as the best Spanish player of the 20th century.
He was also included by the same organization among the 48 legends of football, in addition to being awarded by France Football magazine as the best of all Ballon d'Or winners until 1999, for which he received the Super Ballon d'Or, the only footballer in history to have won it.
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Di Stefano has scored many goals during his career as a professional footballer and we have seen him celebrate them in many different ways, as he never had a signature goal celebration.
Alfredo Di Stefano outside Football
Throughout his life, he took part in several movies, including the autobiographical Saeta Rubia (1956), where he played himself. He also wrote an autobiography entitled Gracias Vieja, published in 2000.
Di Stefano was kidnapped in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1963, where Real was playing in the Small World Cup.
In this section of Alfredo Di Stefano biography, we will take a deeper look into his personal life and share some information like
Alfredo Di Stefano religion
Alfredo Di Stefano life story
He married his wife Sara Freites in 1950 when he was playing at Millonarios. Together the couple had six children including two sons and four daughters. His wife passed away in 2005.
Di Stefano announced on 5 May 2013 that he would marry for a second time Costa Rican Gina Gonzalez, who was 50 years younger than him (Alfredo was 86 and Gina was 36 at the time of the announcement).
Gonzalez was his secretary and lawyer while also working for the Marca newspaper. They met in 2007 when the journalist was commissioned to write a biography of the player. Alfredo himself said about the marriage, "My children are against the new marriage. But I don't care. We just want to be together." Alfredo's sons were against the marriage because they feared that the footballer's new spouse had married for financial reasons.
On 12 May, Gina moved out of Di Stefano's house stating that she "does not consider marriage possible under these conditions". She then withdrew a large sum of money from Alfredo's account and flew to an unknown destination. Gina returned to Costa Rica and there claimed that the footballer's children were to blame and that they were preventing her from even calling Alfredo. In October, Gina returned to Madrid, stating, "How can they think I want money when I stated that I want nothing."
On 2 October of the same year, Di Stefano was declared incapacitated and control of all his assets was transferred to his children. He was hospitalised in a critical condition on 5 July 2014 after suffering a heart attack in a street in Madrid, near the Santiago Bernabeu. Di Stefano, 88, was admitted to the intensive care ward where he was put into an induced coma. On 7 July 2014, at the age of 89, he died.
There are no records of any charitable works or philanthropy projects including Alfredo Di Stefano.
During the 1950s when he transferred from Millonarios to Spain, there were some legal issues about the transfer as Barcelona claimed that Real Madrid has stolen the star player from them.
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In this section of Alfredo Di Stefano biography, we will his career stats both as a club and international football player. Stay tuned.
For 21 years between 1945 and 1966, Alfredo Di Stefano was a professional football player. During all these years, he has played a total of 669 club matches, scoring 487 goals in all competitions. The highlight of his career is undoubtedly the 396 matches he played and 308 goals he has scored for Real Madrid.
He has played for Argentina and Spain on the international level. For his home country, he has 6 caps and 6 goals to his name. In Spain, he has played 31 international matches and scored 23 goals.
There are no exact statistics available about his career as a manager. Between 1967 and 1991 he has worked as manager of 10 teams, including Real Madrid.
As one of the most decorated footballers ever, he has won Argentine Primera División, La Liga, European Cup and many others during his career.
His only international triumph was South American Championship he won in 1947 with Argentina.
As a manager, he has won Argentinian Primera División, Torneo Nacional, European Cup Winners' Cup, Primera División and many others.
His major individual awards include Pichichi Trophy, Ballon d'Or, Super Ballon d'Or, FIFA Order of Merit and many others.