Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stéfano dies aged 88

Club’s honorary president had suffered heart attack close to its Bernabéu stadium on Saturday

Alfredo di Stéfano in Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium in August 2007.
Alfredo di Stéfano in Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium in August 2007.Gorka Lejarcegi

Real Madrid soccer legend Alfredo Di Stéfano has died at the age of 88.

The honorary president of the club had been admitted to hospital in the Spanish capital on Saturday after suffering a heart attack close to the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.

Emergency services spent 18 minutes reviving him before taking him to the city’s Gregorio Marañón hospital in serious condition. He lapsed into a coma several hours afterwards.

Born in Buenos Aires in 1926, Di Stéfano began his playing career at River Plate in 1943, before moving to Millonarios in Colombia and then on to Real Madrid. Nicknamed “La saeta rubia” (The blond arrow), he scored a then-record 216 goals in 282 games for the club and helped it to five straight European Cup victories between 1956 and 1960. He also played internationally for Spain, Argentina and Colombia.

Di Stéfano had undergone a quadruple bypass in 2005

After finishing his playing career at Espanyol at the age of 40, he went on to coach Elche, Boca Juniors, River Plate, Valencia – which he led to Liga victory in 1971 – Sporting de Lisboa, Real Madrid, Rayo and Castellón.

He was named honorary president of Real Madrid in 2000.

Di Stéfano had been in failing health for several years. He had previously suffered a heart attack in 2005, undergoing a quadruple bypass in Valencia, and had been admitted to hospital on seven occasions for various reasons over the past 12 months.

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