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Real Madrid legend dies at the age of 88

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Update: 9:59AM Real Madrid legend Alfredo di Stefano, one of the greatest footballers in history, has died in a Madrid hospital, aged 88, the club says.

Di Stefano was taken to hospital after suffering a heart attack on Saturday following a restaurant lunch with his family near Real's Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

He was taken to the Gregorio Maranon hospital, which later said he was in a coma, had been sedated and was breathing with the help of a machine.

"Alfredo Di Stefano died today at 5:15 pm" at the hospital in the Spanish capital, Real Madrid said in a statement on Monday, extending condolences to the star's family.

"Real Madrid extends its condolences to its fans around the world and to those who are feeling the emotion of losing the best player of all time."

Di Stefano was one of Real Madrid's most celebrated players, having represented the club for 11 seasons between 1953 and 1964, winning five European Cups.

He was born in Buenos Aires and began his professional career with hometown club River Plate in 1945 before leaving for Colombian outfit Millonarios, where his individual displays attracted the attention of a host of big-name European suitors.

It was ultimately Real Madrid who won the race for Di Stefano's signature after a long transfer wrangle with Barcelona.

Di Stefano helped Real Madrid end a 21-year wait for the league title in his first season before collecting a further seven league crowns during his time at the club.

But it was on the European stage that Di Stefano truly cemented his status as one of the game's greats, helping Real win the first five editions of the European Cup between 1956 and 1960, a record that stands to this day.

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