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Football mourns loss of Alfredo Di Stéfano

European and world football is mourning the former Real Madrid CF great and honorary president Alfredo Di Stéfano, who has passed away at the age of 88.

The world of football is in mourning following the death of legendary Real Madrid CF, Argentina and Spain forward Alfredo Di Stéfano at 88.

Madrid's honorary president since 2000, Di Stéfano died after developing heart complications over the weekend. A Real Madrid statement read: "Real Madrid CF report that the club's honorary president, Alfredo Di Stéfano, passed away today at 17.15CET in the Gregorio Marañón University General Hospital.

"Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez and the club's board of directors would like to express their profound condolences and affection to Alfredo Di Stéfano's children, family and friends. We extend condolences to Madrid supporters all over the world and to all of those who feel the loss of the greatest player who ever lived."

UEFA President Michel Platini added: "I am deeply saddened to hear that Alfredo Di Stéfano – one of football's true greats – has passed away. Alfredo Di Stéfano served the game with distinction and humility. He won everyone's hearts with his brilliance as part of the legendary Real Madrid CF team that left its indelible mark on European football by winning five successive European Champion Clubs' Cups.

"He was superb technically, possessed outstanding speed, and was a splendid goal scorer. Together with his gifted team-mates, he helped invent modern football. He embodied all that is magical about football, in Europe and across the world, and it gave me supreme pleasure to present him with my first UEFA President's Award.

"Along with everyone who was fortunate enough to watch him in action, I remember being enthralled when I saw images of him in black and white on the television screen. He was blessed with a truly special rhythm and grace which was a thrill to behold. We will always remember Alfrédo Di Stéfano – a man whose name and talents will remain embedded forever in football's rich history."

Di Stéfano (C) with the 1956 European Cup
Di Stéfano (C) with the 1956 European Cup©Getty Images

The Blonde Arrow
Widely regarded as the greatest player of his generation, The Blonde Arrow – as he was known during his playing days – will be remembered as a prolific goalscorer and an exceptionally skilful and innovative practitioner in a sport that brought him immense success during Real Madrid's golden period in the 1950s and '60s.

As well as winning eight Liga titles with the Spanish giants, the Argentinian-born Spanish international scored in each of the first five European Champion Clubs' Cup finals – including a hat-trick in the 1960 decider – all of which the Merengues won.

Receiving Spanish nationality in 1956, the former CA River Plate, CA Huracán, Millonarios FC and RCD Espanyol striker went on to score 23 goals in 31 games for his adopted country. He would later enjoy a lengthy coaching career after hanging up his boots, leading Valencia CF to the Spanish title and UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

To help mark UEFA's Jubilee in 2004, each national association was asked to nominate its most outstanding player of the past 50 years. Spain chose Alfredo Di Stéfano as their Golden Player.