[OBITUARY] Alfredo Di Stefano
, considered one of the greatest players in the history of soccer, died Monday at the age of
88. The Argentine has most often been associated with Real Madrid, the club at which he won five straight European Cup titles, scoring in each final.
The Argentine never won the World Cup
-- indeed he only played in the World Cup for Spain -- and played in an era before television coverage of soccer was widespread.
Di Stefano played six times for Argentina and 31 for Spain, in addition to two unofficial appearances for Colombia. He played four
seasons for Millonarios in the outlaw Colombian league before moving to Real Madrid in 1953.
Following his retirement as a player in 1966, he spent almost a quarter century as a coach in
Spain, Portugal and Argentina. Since then, he has been an ambassador for Real Madrid.
Di Stefano won the Ballon d'Or in 1957 and 1959. In 1999, he finished fourth behind only Pele
, Diego Maradona
and Johan Cruyff
as the greatest player of the 20th century in a
poll of former Ballon d'Or winners.
Pele called Di Stefano "a trailblazer, and most of all, he was a legend of the game. God rest his soul."