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Alfredo Di Stefano con las 5 Copas de Europa

Di Stéfano’s five European Cups

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NEWS | 07/07/2014

The continental competition confirmed his status as the best player in the world.
Real Madrid’s dominance during the first years of the European Cup not only earned the club a reputation as the best in the world, it also catapulted Di Stéfano to fame as the star of world football. He won the European Cup five times on the trot and his stats are incredible: 49 goals in 58 matches. He was also the only player to score in all five European Cup finals.

1955/56: Europe’s first ever champions
Real Madrid and Di Stéfano debuted in the European Cup on 8 September 1955. They did so in Geneva, against Servette, and won 0-2. The Blond Arrow’s first goal in the new competition came in the second leg of that tie. It was 12 October and Alfredo Di Stéfano scored the first two goals in the Madrid’s 2-0 win over the Swiss team.

This first European Cup enjoyed several epic moments, such as the second quarter-final match against Partizán, in the snow in Belgrade. The semi-final clash in the San Siro against Milan was also special, as Di Stéfano drew applause from the home fans for his extraordinary performance. Alfredo Di Stéfano played that match despite having been ill in the preceding days with a throat infection.

The final of the first European Cup win
The fearsome Stade de Reims, led by Kopa awaited in the final. The French team were playing at home in the Parc des Princes in Paris, and they soon had a 2-0 lead. Di Stéfano scored in the 15th minute and his determination carried the team to a comeback, with the Whites eventually winning 4-3. The first European Cup demonstrated all the virtues of the Blond Arrow to the whole continent.

1956/57: Cup win in front of a home crowd
Raymond Kopa joined the Whites that season, hoping to win the trophy that had eluded him the previous year with Stade de Reims. Rapid Vienna was a tough opponent in the first round, and came close to knocking them out of the competition. An acrobatic goal from Di Stéfano in the second leg in Austria took the tie to a third and deciding match.

Another memorable moment was the clash with Manchester United in the semi-finals. Duncan Edwards, who was considered one of the great promises of English football, was playing for the Red Devils. The Whites were superior in Madrid and Di Stéfano found the net in the 3-1 win. The return match at Old Trafford was notable for the deafening sound of the home fans. Madrid overcame the hostile atmosphere to make it through the round.

The final of the second European Cup win
It was played in the Santiago Bernabéu. The match was very close until the 70th minute, when Di Stéfano opened the scoring with a penalty. When the clock read 76, Gento sealed the 2-0 scoreline. Madrid were crowned champions of Europe in front of their fans.

1957/58: Top goal-scorer in the third European Cup
In the European Cup quarter-finals Madrid played Sevilla. The first leg was played on 23 February 1957 and as the game approached, Di Stéfano received the Ballon d’Or. The Blond Arrow presented his trophy to the fans before putting on another show in what proved to be an incredible match. Madrid won 8-0, he scored four.

In the semi-finals they played Vasas from Budapest. The match was marked by heavy rain and Alfredo scored a hat-trick. In celebration of one of his goals he repeatedly jumped up and down. The moment has gone down in history as one of the most famous images of Di Stéfano.

The final of the third European Cup win
It was played in the Heysel stadium against Milan. Schiaffino opened the scoring but Di Stéfano responded by levelling the match. Normal time finished 2-2. The two sides were exhausted in extra time so Gento’s wondrous physique ended up tipping the balance in favour of Real Madrid. The Blond Arrow was the competition’s top goal-scorer with ten.

1958/59: All-star strikeforce with Puskas
The signing of Puskas gave the Whites even more infamy in Europe. Real Madrid left Besiktas and Wiener SC in their wake before playing Atlético de Madrid in the semis.

The tie was one of the closest that year and it had to be decided in a third game. The decider took place in Zaragoza. On 13 May 1959, Di Stéfano scored his team’s first goal in La Romareda and led the Whites to the final in Stuttgart. After this match the chant “D for defend, D for direct, D for dominate, D for decide, D for Di Stéfano” began to ring around stadiums.
 
The final of the fourth European Cup win
In the final they faced Stade de Reims again and Alfredo was once again the deciding factor in an important match. Mateos soon put the Whites in front and Di Stéfano sealed the final 2-0 scoreline in the 47th minute. In a demonstration of Madrid’s superiority, they were crowned European champions for the fourth time.

1959/60: Fifth win in the best match in history
Jeunesse d’Esch and Nice were the first opponent’s that year for the only team that had ever won the European Cup. They reached the semi-finals, where they met Helenio Herrera’s Barcelona. Against the Blaugrana, Real Madrid came out on top of the tie (6-2), with two goals from The Arrow.

The final of the fifth European Cup win
The opponent was Frankfurt team Eintracht, and the match is considered one of the best ever in football. The German side took the lead, but Di Stéfano catapulted his team to victory with two goals in three minutes. The goals just kept coming and the match finished 7-3, including another from the striker. Real Madrid were five-time European champions, no mean feat.
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