Alfredo Di Stéfano is Number 10 in 90min's Top 50 Greatest Footballer of All Time Series

​It speaks volumes that despite sitting behind the illustrious Cristiano Ronaldo and Raúl in Real Madrid's all-time top scorer charts, Alfredo Di Stéfano is still considered the greatest ever player to don the white shirt.

A winner of two Ballons d'Or and an unprecedented and unrivalled Super Ballon d'Or, Di Stéfano was the protagonist in the squad that began Real's obsession with the European Cup from its inception.

While his 11-year stay in Madrid would bring nine domestic trophies, it was on the continental stage that Di Stéfano would make his name as Real became the first and only side to win the European Cup five times back to back between 1956 and 1960 - a golden era for the club.


A rare footballing all-rounder, Di Stéfano was useful in both attack and defence - but his record in front of goal speaks for itself; 396 official appearances for ​Los Blancos, 308 goals. A true marksman.

Di Stéfano had everything; pace, a silken touch, strength, two-footedness, outrageous skills, a rifle of a shot and the arrogance and swagger synonymous with our modern day stars.

The original 'second striker', Di Stéfano was given a free role in Los Merengues' front line. Drifting around the final third, La Saeta Rubia - or 'Blonde Arrow' - would terrorise defenders with his languid style and determination to keep the ball. For those not so familiar with football in the 1950s and 60s, imagine an amalgamation of Zinedine Zidane and Dimitar Berbatov.


To this day, so many players are defined by how they have performed on the biggest stage; Lionel Messi, Ronaldo, Paul Pogba - all of them feel the weight of expectation every time they don the colours of their club or country in a significant match. Well, Di Stéfano was the ultimate big-game player; In each of the European Cup finals he played in, he netted at least once. Some return, some reward.

At the peak of his powers, Di Stéfano scored in finals against Reims (on two occasions), Fiorentina, ​Milan and Eintracht Frankfurt as Los Blancos made history - a winning streak that is still unmatched to this day but also acts as the fuel for the club's modern success. Inevitably, recognition came with Ballon d'Or wins in 1957 and 1959.

Alfredo di Stefano,Laszlo Kubala

While he is hailed as a footballing god among Madridistas, it is perhaps his international career where he falls behind the likes of Pelé and Maradona in the rankings of the best players of all time. Although he eventually took Spanish citizenship, the Saeta Rubia was born in Buenos Aires. He played for River Plate there and Millonarios in Colombia before Real came a' calling, beating arch rivals Barcelona to his signature in controversial circumstances in 1953.

Strangely, given the less stringent rules at the time, Di Stéfano represented Argentina, Colombia AND Spain at international level, but crucially never played in a FIFA World Cup. Argentina were one of many countries to withdraw from the 1950 tournament - the first after the Second World War. Then in 1954, Di Stéfano was deemed ineligible to play for Spain having already represented Argentina and Colombia - a decision that wasn't reversed until three years later.

It seems - on the international level at least - that the Blonde Arrow's luck was out. Spain failed to qualify for the 1958 World Cup, and in one final cruel blow, Di Stéfano was injured just before the 1962 tournament aged 36.

While history has seen him marked down for a lack of World Cup experience and success, a Super Ballon D'Or awarded to him in 1989 goes some way to demonstrating where he is held in the estimations of the football world. He remains the only player to receive such an honour. 

Alfredo Di Stéfano passed away in 2014 aged 88. Despite a nomadic and unfulfilled international career, based on his all-round play, goalscoring and extraordinary trophy haul, Real Madrid's greatest no.9 deservedly takes his place in the top ten of 90min's Top 50 Players of All Time rankings.

90min's 'Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time' can be found here.

Number 50: Luka Modric

Number 49: John Charles

Number 48: Hugo Sanchez

Number 47: Jairzinho

Number 46: Omar Sivori

Number 45: Paolo Rossi

Number 44: Paul Breitner

Number 43: George Weah

Number 42: Kaka

Number 41: Lev Yashin

Number 40: Gunnar Nordahl

Number 39: Kevin Keegan

Number 38: Hristo Stoichkov

Number 37: Gianluigi Buffon

Number 36: Johan Neeskens

Number 35: Xavi Hernandez

Number 34: Luis Suarez

Number 33: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

Number 32: Andres Iniesta

Number 31: Rivelino

Number 30: Bobby Moore

Number 29: Socrates

Number 28: Sandor Kocsis

Number 27: Lothar Matthaus

Number 26: Ronaldinho

Number 25: Ruud Gullit

Number 24: Bobby Charlton

Number 23: Giuseppe Meazza

Number 22: Raymond Kopa

Number 21: Romario

Number 20: Eusebio

Number 19: Marco van Basten

Number 18: George Best

Number 17: Zico

Number 16: Franco Baresi

Number 15: Cristiano Ronaldo

Number 14: Ferenc Puskas

Number 13: Paolo Maldini

Number 12: Gerd Müller

Number 11: Mané Garrincha