Alfredo di Stefano

Real Madrid legend Alfredo di Stefano has died aged 88 following a heart attack on Saturday.

The ex-Argentina and Spain international had been in an induced coma in Madrid's Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon since the weekend, after he celebrated his 88<sup>th birthday.

Regarded as one of the finest players in the history of the game, Di Stefano is the only player to score in five successive European Cup finals and was twice named the European footballer of the year.

"Real Madrid CF announces that its honorary president, Alfredo Di Stefano, has died today at 5.15pm at the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon in Madrid," a club statement read.

"The president of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, and the club's board wish to express their most profound condolences and all their affection to his children, his family and his friends.

"Real Madrid extends its condolences to madridistas all over the world and to those who feel the loss of the best player of all time."

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has led the tributes to Di Stefano, who won 22 major honours as a player across spells at River Plate, Huracan, Real and Espanyol.

"In the semi-final, Eintracht Frankfurt beat Rangers and we looked upon Eintracht as almost certain to win the cup - but Real Madrid were a special team," Ferguson told BBC Five Live.

"I had the pleasure as a young man of being influenced by the great Real Madrid and Di Stefano. His head was up all the time. He was such a fantastic footballer.

"For Real Madrid, it is a terrible loss because his presence was always there."

After joining Real in 1953, he helped Los Blancos to eight of the next 10 La Liga titles while inspiring a run of five European Cup wins in the most dominant spell of any club in major continental competition.

Di Stefano finished his professional career with 454 goals in 684 games and while being regarded as the Real's greatest ever player, was named honorary president of the Bernabeu club which saw him help unveil the signings of Zindine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham.

At international level he represented Argentina, Spain and Colombia, though his caps are not recognised by Fifa, but never appeared in a World Cup finals.