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Alfredo Di Stéfano

'The Blond Arrow' transformed Real Madrid into the best club in the world


NEWS | 07/07/2014

The arrival of Di Stéfano made it possible for the Whites to get the ball rolling on the most glorious period in their history.
Di Stéfano played for Real Madrid from 1953 until 1964. He enjoyed 11 years with the club, during which time he won numerous titles, making the Whites a side to beat. His arrival marked the beginning of an effort to turn the club into the best in the world. During his time with the team, Real Madrid won five European Cup titles in a row, an Intercontinental Cup, two Latin Cups, eight La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey title and a Pequeña Copa del Mundo (Small World Cup).

On 23 September 1953 he travelled by train from Barcelona to Madrid. He arrived in Atocha station at 10:30 am, had a medical exam and made his debut with the team at 16:00 pm. Di Stéfano played his first match as a Real Madrid player against Nancy in a friendly, a game he scored a header in.

Official debut
Four days later, on 27 September 1953, he made his competitive debut for the club. It was matchday three of the domestic league campaign against Racing de Santander. The Madrid fans were once again treated to seeing their new signing, an instinctive goal scorer, getting off the mark with a goal during the team's 4-2 victory.

Di Stéfano's success allowed Santiago Bernabéu to buy international stars year after year. The Real Madrid players did not just win on the pitch but they also transcended the sport to become true idols for the masses. The attacking line up of Kopa, Rial, Di Stéfano, Puskas and Gento is one of the best in the history of football.

He scored 308 goals in 396 competitive matches for Madrid.

Di Stéfano became the first Ballon d'Or winner in Real Madrid's history. He was bestowed with the accolade for the first time in 1957 and was awarded it again in 1959. It was the time a player for Europe's most dominant side had given the prize. France Football paid him tribute again in 1989 with the Super Ballon d'Or (Football player of the Century). Di Stéfano is the only player in the world to have been awarded the award.

His career with the Whites was also recognised in 1963, when he was named captain of the FIFA team that took on England to celebrated the 100th year anniversary of the English Football Associaition.

The total footballer, how he was defined as a player
The Blond Arrow inspired a revolution in European football thanks to his playing style. A natural forward due to his pace, technique and finishing ability, he did not have to wait for the ball to come to the box.

His fighting spirit and winning mentality made him want the ball at his feet at all times. In order to do so he would drop deep into midfield and even defence in order to receive a pass or to help win back possession. His movement was a constant thorn in the side of those trying to mark him.

Incredible goal scoring record
A great work rate, a huge capacity to set up goals, an intelligence that allowed him to create space for his teammates... Di Stéfano gave the Bernabéu faithful uncountable displays of footballing genius. His ability to breach oppositions' goalmouths made him a perfect player. He scored 308 goals for the Whites in 396 competitive games with them. He was proclaimed Pichichi five times, a record for any Madrid player.

After 11 successful years, in which he turned Real Madrid into the best team in the world, Di Stéfano played his last official match against Inter Milan in the 1964 European Cup final. On 7 June 1967 the club organised a tribute event in whic Real Madrid took on Glasgow Celtic, who had just won the European Cup. The Santiago Bernabéu fans gave their hero a standing ovation: La Saeta Rubia (The Blond Arrow).