Alfredo Di Stefano, the only recipient of the prestigious Super Ballon d’Or award in history, was an Argentina-born player who is widely considered one of the greatest footballers of all time. He led Real Madrid to five consecutive European Cup triumphs in the first five editions of the tournament.

Now that another Argentine, Lionel Messi, is reportedly being considered as the second recipient of the prestigious honour in history, it is time to look back at the career and achievements of this Los Blancos legend:

Who was Alfredo Di Stefano?

Alfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano Laulhé was born in the Buenos Aires neighbourhood called Barracas on July 4, 1926. His father was an Italian-Argentine immigrant from Sicily. Di Stefano played street football as a child and would later join his brother to play for the Club Social y Deportivo Unión Progresista.

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He moved on to greener pastures when he signed for River Plate in 1944. He played for the Buenos Aires side’s second team in his first season. Di Stefano’s talents soon propelled him to the senior team, and with him in the side, River Plate won the Argentine top-flight league in 1945.

The impressive forward was then loaned to Huracan before returning to River once again for the 1947-49 seasons. 

Di Stefano joined the Millonarios later and stayed with them for the period of 1949–1953 before signing for Spanish giants Real Madrid. His transfer to Los Blancos was a contentious one since Barcelona were the first club to contact River Plate for his signature.

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His successes with Real Madrid are what made Di Stefano one of the greatest in history. He led the side to five consecutive European Cup triumphs from 1956 to 1960, and ended his career with the club scoring 216 goals in 282 matches.

Di Stefano won the Ballon d’Or on two occasions as a player, in 1957 and 1959. He won the Pichichi trophy (Spain’s highest goalscorer) in the 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1959 seasons.

After his playing days were over, Di Stefano had a long coaching career where he managed the likes of Boca Juniors, River Plate, Real Madrid, Sporting CP, and Valencia.

The legendary footballer died on July 7, 2014 at the age of 88.