A legend of soccer, Alfredo di Stefano, has died at the age 88, according to The Guardian. The former Real Madrid star had just turned 88 last week.
Here’s what we know so far:
1. Di Stefano Had a Heart Attack Last Week
Di Stefano had been admitted to hospital last week in Spain. The BBC reported that the soccer legend had suffered at heart attack and was being kept in a medically induced coma. He had been fitted with a pacemaker since 2005.
DEP Don Alfredo Di Stéfano. ' Ya corre La Saeta'
— Xabi Alonso (@XabiAlonso) July 7, 2014
2. He Won the European Cup 5 Times in a Row
He was part of one of the most successful soccer teams of all time. His Real Madrid team won the European Cup five years in a row from 1956. Beginning his career in Argentina with River Plate and Millionarios in Colombia, he made the move to Europe in 1953 to Real Madrid. He played there until 1964 when he moved to Espanyol for one season before retiring. He would return to Real Madrid twice as coach in 1982-84 and 1990-91. In 2000, di Stefano was named honorary president of Real Madrid.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 7, 2014
3. He Never Played at a World Cup
Despite being born in Argentina, di Stefano played most of his international soccer for Spain. He also played for Colombia during his storied career. He’s consistently referred to as one of the greatest players to never to play at a World Cup finals. In 1950, while he was playing for Argentina, the team refused to participate in the finals which were being held in Brazil. In 1954, Argentina again refused to play, furthermore di Stefano was punished by FIFA for playing for both Argentina and Colombia. After moving to Spain, he became a nautralized citizen in 1956. He then declared to play for Los Rojas, but the team failed to qualify for the 1958 World Cup. By 1962, di Stefano was now a veteran and after helping Spain to qualify for ’62 in Chile, he picked up a muscular injury just before the tournament and didn’t play.
Alfredo Di Stefano has died. One of the greatest players ever. Scored in 5 successive European Cup finals. A feat never to be matched. #RIP
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 7, 2014
4. Real Madrid Call Him ‘The Best Player of All Time’
Influential soccer magazine, France Football, voted di Stefano the fourth greatest player in the history of the game in 1999. On its official page, Real Madrid describe di Stefano as “the best soccer player of all time.”
5. Argentina Play Netherlands on July 9 in the World Cup Semifinals
His death comes just 48 hours before Argentina play Netherlands in the World Cup semifinals. After defeating Belgium in the World Cup quarterfinal, Argentina striker and goalscorer Gonzalo Higuain told the media,”Alfredo was always very close to me, I feel for him, I have great respect for him and I hope that he will recover. I only have words of gratitude towards him.”
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