NEWS | 07/07/2014“We have lost the best footballer of all time. He changed the history of Real Madrid and the history of football”, said the Whites’ president.
Florentino Pérez appeared before the media in the president’s box in the Santiago Bernabéu. The president of Real Madrid stated, after the death of the best player of all time, Alfredo Di Stéfano: “Thank you all for attending. Today is a day that we thought would never arrive. A day of absolute sadness for Real Madrid and for the entire footballing world.
First of all, I would like to express, on Real Madrid’s and my own behalf, the most profound regret at the passing of our honorary president, Alfredo Di Stéfano, and pass on our compassion and affection to his family, especially his children, his colleagues and his friends.
We have lost the greatest player in the history of Real Madrid and the best footballer of all time. Today, Real Madrid and all of its fans around the world are feeling great sadness and regret. The player who first pulled on a white shirt on 23 September 1953 in this stadium has left us, although his legend will live on for an eternity.
Today is also a time of thanks. Because Alfredo Di Stéfano changed the history of this club and also changed the history of football. He helped transform Real Madrid and made it the biggest sporting institution in the world. Alfredo Di Stéfano is Real Madrid. His alliance with this club allowed the greatest legend in football to be created. He was decisive, he was determinant, he changed the destiny of this institution.
When this country was going through other difficulties, Alfredo Di Stéfano and his teammates became the biggest creators of dreams. And, together with our president Santiago Bernabéu, he created a football club that is admired on every continent. He was the forefather of a universal affection. With his talent and his insurmountable capacity for sacrifice, he was capable of spreading his passion for Real Madrid to every corner of the planet.
Thank you, dear Alfredo Di Stéfano for making Real Madrid the most beloved and admired football club in the world. I would like you all to understand that this is not an easy day for anyone who forms part of this club and especially for me, because he was also my friend. I have experienced many great things with him. Imagine what it has meant to me as president to experience these years with the player who I have always considered to be the best of all time.
Because Alfredo Di Stéfano was the best at everything. In the way he revolutionised football and also the ethical code he left on the pitch. He taught us to never give in and to give everything for this club. In addition, until his final days he spoke of his teammates and the team as a fundamental part of his success. And Alfredo Di Stéfano did all this with gratitude and convinced that without them nothing would have been the same.
Many of the values of Real Madrid, of which as fans of the club we feel so proud, are those that guided the generation captained by Alfredo Di Stéfano. For all this time he has been our club’s best ambassador. He gave a lot to our club, but he has also given a lot to our city, to Spain and to the world of football.
Now it is our duty to tell those who never had the opportunity to see him, that once there was a Real Madrid football player who managed to change everything. A player who won five consecutive European Cups, eight Ligas, the first ever Intercontinental Cup, who was the league’s top goal-scorer five times, who won two Ballon d’Ors and who is the only player to have received a Super Ballon d’Or.
He is a man who always wanted more and resisted defeat like no other. Thanks to him, FIFA named Real Madrid the Best Club of the 20th Century. The image of Alfredo Di Stéfano collecting that award in Rome, in the year 2000, was also recognition of his life and accompanying him at the event was one of my most emotional moments as the president of Real Madrid.
He was with us at all the important events in the history of our club. It was he who laid the first stone at the Ciudad Real Madrid, he presented all the great players when they joined our team and has always guided us and made sure we did not lose our way.
I would like to announce that the Santiago Bernabéu will host Alfredo Di Stéfano’s public viewing at 10:30 tomorrow. This stadium was his factory, his sacred ground, his home and his life and it is here, by his express wish and that of his entire family, where we will give him the homage he deserves.
Today is a profoundly sad day for us, but also one of respect and admiration for this legendary man who guided us for so many years. He came here to stay and his time at the heart of Real Madrid is eternal.
Alfredo Di Stéfano, honorary president, Real Madrid will never forget you.
Thank you very much”.
The words of Florentino Pérez were followed by an emotional video showing some of the greatest moments of Alfredo Di Stéfano’s life with Real Madrid, both on and off the pitch. Federico Fernandez Tapias, first vice-president; Enrique Sánchez, secretary of the Board of Directors; and Emilio Butragueño, the club’s director of Institutional Relations, among others, were also present.