Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughBallon d’Or 1957 and 1959: Alfredo Di Stefano - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Ballon d’Or 1957 and 1959: Alfredo Di Stefano - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Ballon d’Or 1957 and 1959: Alfredo Di Stefano

“In Madrid, the field at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium leans to the left because Alfredo Di Stéfano had played so much on this side.” – Spanish Press

“I don’t know if I had been a better player than Pelé, but I can say without any doubt that Di Stéfano was better than Pelé.  I am proud when one speaks of Di Stéfano. Pelé would have flopped had he played in Europe, whereas Alfredo has played very well throughout the world.” – Diego Maradona

Following the brief disappointment of finishing second in the inaugural Ballon d’Or to the “Wizard of Dribble” Stanley Matthews, the “saeta rubia” (“blonde arrow”) Di Stefano captured both the 1957 and the 1959 Ballon d’Or. If you ask people nowadays who the greatest player of all time is, they say: Messi, Ronaldo, Pele, Maradona very few mention Di Stefano.


1957 Ballon d’Or


Alfredo di Stefano = Real Madrid, Spain — 72 Points

Billy Wright = Wolverhampton Wanderers, England — 19 Points

Duncan Edwards = Manchester United, England — 16 Points

Raymond Kopa = Real Madrid, France — 16 Points

Laszlo Kubala = Barcelona, Hungary — 15 Points


1959 Ballon d’Or


Alfredo di Stefano = Real Madrid, Spain — 80 Points

Raymond Kopa = Real Madrid, France — 42 Points

John Charles = Juventus, Wales — 24 Points

Luis Suarez = Barcelona, Spain — 22 Points

Agne Simonsson = Orgryte IS, Sweden — 20 Points


Alfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano Laulhé is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time. His association with Real Madrid is synonymous with their domination of the European Champions Cup during the 50s.

The coveted Ballon d’Or, presented by France Football magazine to the man voted the best player in Europe, was awarded to Di Stefano in 1957 and 1959, yet Di Stefano never ceased to insist that it was all down to the team around him: “Football’s not designed for silent types. Being a genius won’t make any difference if you don’t gel with your team-mates.” said Di Stefano.

Di Stefano played international football for Argentina, Colombia and mostly for Spain. He is currently the fourth highest goalscorer in La Liga history and Real Madrid’s second highest league goalscorer of all time, with an amazing 216 goals in 282 league matches between 1953 and 1964.

There is no doubting that Alfredo di Stefano was one of the greatest footballers of his era, with teammate Raymond Kopa and the Wizard of Dribble Stanley Matthews coming close, but few can challenge di Stefano’s success.

Di Stefano enjoyed spells at River Plate and Millionairos before being involved in an epic transfer tussle between Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. He chose Madrid and signed for a fee of £70,000 that became one of the greatest signings in Real Madrid’s illustrious history and a signing which would bring the club its most successful time period.

Over an 11-year spell wearing the famous white jersey, he claimed a remarkable haul of eight league and one Spanish Cup winners’ medals, as well as finishing atop the scorers’ charts on five occasions.

Di Stefano is also responsible for scoring Real Madrid’s first ever goal in a European Cup final. In the 1956 European Cup Final vs Stade de Reims, di Stefano bagged a 14th minute strike to claw Madrid back into the tie at 1-2 down. Madrid went on to prevail, thanks to a double from Hector Rial, and the penultimate winner was scored by Marquitos to seal a historical 4-3 victory.

Di Stefano’s majestic presence led Real Madrid towards a historic run of five back to back European Cups, not surprisingly with Di Stefano scoring in every single final. Real Madrid’s run was capped off by a 7-3 demolition of German side Eintracht Frankfurt, di Stefano scored a hat trick and Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas scored the remaining four. Along with Francisco Gento he was one of only two players to have played a part in all five victories.

Di Stefano recalled the success, as he said: “What a forward line we had! [Raymond] Kopa, [Hector] Rial, Puskas and [Paco] Gento. I don’t think that there’s ever been a more complete frontline in the history of the game.”

A touch of class, that finely summarizes the footballing philosophy of a player who scored 418 goals in 510 games for Real Madrid, with 307 of these strikes coming in competitive matches.

A true devotee to the game, Di Stefano wasted little time in trying his luck as a coach, starting out with modest Spanish side Elche in 1967. He went on to enjoy varying degrees of success at the helm of Boca Juniors, Valencia, River Plate and Real Madrid, with the latter being the last team he coached before stepping away from the dugout in 1991.

In 2000 he was named Honorary President of Real Madrid, and has since received a host of tributes and awards recognising the outstanding achievements of his long and successful career.

Zak Bird