Di Stefano suffered a heart attack during a meal to celebrate his 88th birthday at the weekend and had been in a coma at the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon in Madrid until he passed away today.
News of Di Stefano’s passing was confirmed via a statement released by Madrid on Monday afternoon.
“Real Madrid CF announces that its honorary president, Alfredo Di Stefano, has died today at 5.15 p.m. at the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon in Madrid,” the statement read.
“The president of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, and the club’s board wish to express their most profound condolences and all their affection to his children, his family and his friends. Real Madrid extends its condolences to madridistasall over the world and to those who feel the loss of the best player of all time.”
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo tweeted: “Don Alfredo leaves us, but his memory will last forever in our hearts. Legends never die. Thanks for everything Maestro. #EternoAlfredo”.
After Real hijacked his transfer to Barcelona, Di Stefano led Los Blancos to eight of the next 10 La Liga titles, and most famously five successive European Cup trophies from 1956 to 1960. He was named Ballon d’Or winner in 1957 and 1959. During 11 seasons at Madrid, Di Stefano scored 308 goals in 396 games. Fifty of those goals were scored in 60 European Cup games.
It is difficult to fathom just how good Do Stefano was. But the Real Madrid website had a headline that said “Alfredo Di Stéfano, the best player of all time”. Real know a thing or two about great players and I don’t think you can ask for higher praise than that.