Real Madrid Legend Alfredo Di Stefano Dies, Football Stars Pay Tribute

By Christine Jane Caparras
July 9, 2014 6:10 PM EST

Real Madrid Legend Alfredo Di Stefano Dies, Soccer Stars Pay Tribute

Real Madrid Legend Alfredo Di Stefano has passed away on Monday following a heart attack two days earlier. He was 88. The messages paying tribute to one of the most prominent players of all time have been pouring out from the football community and from fans all over the world.

Alfredo Di Stefano played for Spanish giants Real Madrid between 1953 and 1964 and during which time the club won five consecutive European League titles, a competition which is now known as the UEFA Champions League. It was only fitting that Di Stefano would live long enough to witness La Decima, Real Madrid's 10th European title which they won last May against city rivals Atlético Madrid.

Di Stefano was also part of a team that won a series of other domestic and international titles that have helped cement Real Madrid as the best club of the 20th Century. He received the prize on behalf of the club from FIFA alongside Real Madrid President Florentino Perez.

Spain's King Felipe VI was among the first high-profile guests to come to Di Stefano's wake which was held as expected at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Real Madrid's home. Florentino Perez was ever-present throughout the events in the past several days and was seen coming in and out of the Gregorio Maranon hospital where Di Stefano was treated following his heart attack and where he eventually passed.

The President also addressed the press to make the formal announcement regarding the legend's passing. As expected, Real Madrid players were in attendance starting with team co-captains Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos.

In his personal Twitter account, Iker Casillas posted a photo of himself with Di Stefano sitting on a bench in what appeared to be a stadium.

"DEP Don Alfredo, el más grande. Leyenda del madridismo, siempre con nosotros. Siempre le recordaré MAESTRO" (R.I.P. Don Alfredo, the greatest, A Real Madrid Legend, Always with us. I will always remember you. Master.) he said.

Cristiano Ronaldo also posted his own tribute via his twitter account where he shared a photo of himself with Di Stefano with the caption: "It's a very sad day. For me, for all the madridistas, for the world of football. #EternoAlfredo"

Ronaldo then followed up with another tweet :

Former Real Madrid Player and Former Italian national team captain Fabio Cannavarro also posted a tribute on his twitter as did Dutch star Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

Another football legend, Pele, shared his message through Real Madrid's Official Website:

"I am very sad to hear about the death of the great Alfredo Di Stefano." said Pele.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter also shared his thoughts:

"He was my favourite player and the most complete player I have ever seen. A legend has left us, may he rest in peace."

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