Alfredo Di Stefano dead: Florentino Perez hails the man who 'changed everything' as Real Madrid mourn the loss of a hero

Di Stefano passed away on Monday after suffering a heart attack, and he is likely to be remembered ahead of both World Cup semi-finals over the next two days

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez hailed the late Alfredo Di Stefano as a man who "changed everything" in the world of football.

Di Stefano passed away on Monday afternoon following a heart attack two days earlier and tributes for the 88-year-old have been flooding in since.

The Argentina-born forward was a true great during his time at the Bernabeu, scoring in five successive European Cup finals as Real Madrid won the trophy every year between 1956 and 1960.

His long-standing record of 216 goals in 262 league appearances was only broken by Raul in 2009, and although Raul - as well as Andrei Shevchenko and Ruud van Nistelrooy - have now scored more European Cup goals than Di Stefano, his ratio of 49 goals in 58 matches stands alone.

By the time Di Stefano left the Bernabeu for Espanyol in 1964, he had collected eight Primera Division titles, five European Cups and a Copa del Rey winners' medal and had also been named European Footballer of the Year on two occasions.

 

Perez, who had visited Di Stefano at the General Universitario Gregorio Maranon Hospital in Madrid before his death, held a press conference on Monday where he paid the ultimate tribute to the club legend.

"Alfredo Di Stefano is Real Madrid," he said.

"He was decisive, determined and his alliance with the club changed the destiny of this institution.

"Alfredo was the best in every sense of the word, for how he revolutionised football and for the values he had.

"Now it is our duty to tell those who never him saw him play that he changed everything. Madrid was his home and his life and we will give him the homage he deserves.

"He came here to stay and his presence in Madrid is eternal. Alfredo Di Stefano, Real Madrid's honorary president, Real Madrid will never forget you."

Read more: Alfredo Di Stefano dies aged 88
Who was Real Madrid legend Di Stefano?
De Gea, Ozil and Lineker pay tribute to Di Stefano

Other tributes came in from the likes of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who Tweeted: "Sad to learn of Di Stefano's passing, the most complete player I've seen. My favourite player. A legend is gone. RIP."

Pele also spoke of his sadness at the news, saying Di Stefano was responsible for breaking down barriers within the game.

The Brazil great Tweeted: "Back when we played, Santos and Real Madrid were for many years primary rivals, for having the best football teams in the world.

"Today, the openness between Latin American players and European clubs is very much due to the work of Alfredo Di Stefano.

"He was a trailblazer, and most of all, he was a legend of the game. God rest his soul."

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and club director Sir Bobby Charlton both praised Di Stefano as one of the best players of all time, while current Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo labelled him a "maestro".

Di Stefano's body will lie in repose in the presidential box at the club's Santiago Bernabeu stadium from Tuesday morning, at the request of the deceased, while it is likely he will be remembered ahead of the World Cup semi-finals taking place over the next two days.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders