Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano dies at the age of 88

Brooks Peck
July 7, 2014
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(Getty)

Real Madrid honorary president Alfredo Di Stefano, one of the greatest to ever play the game, has died at the age of 88 after suffering a heart attack on July 5.

Known as The Blond Arrow, Di Stefano led Real Madrid to eight league titles and the club's first five European Cups in the 1950s and 60s. He is the only man to score in five consecutive European finals and was named European player of the year in 1957 and 1959. At the international level, he won the 1947 Copa America with his native Argentina before also playing for Colombia and Spain, but he never played in a World Cup.

In 1963, Di Stefano was kidnapped in Caracas by four armed men from a Venezualan revolutionary group looking for publicity. He was released unharmed and without a ransom two days later.

As a manager, Di Stefano won the Argentine Primera Division with Boca Juniors in 1969 and the Spanish Primera Division with Valencia in 1971.

Di Stefano combined speed and strength with a creative flair. He's credited with bringing the backheel to prominence. But, perhaps because he never appeared in a World Cup, his name is often left out of discussions of the greatest footballers of all time.

To mark his 88th birthday on July 4, Real Madrid posted a video of Di Stefano's highlights with the club. It's worth watching.