Archive. Football. Statistic & History
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Column #65

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-01-11 23:22:36

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
When you watch Di Stéfano in action, you notice his quality in covering the field, advanced technique and, of the most characteristic features of his style of play, his defensive ability. However, a very little commented feature of Alfredo, in my opinion, is the speed in acting when he receives the ball with his back to the opposing goal. That's when Di Stéfano's artillery arsenal increases even more, thus proving himself to be a very dangerous player when his back is to goal.
Di Stéfano was a quick-thinking, tactically very advanced player – far above average reading of the game. He knew several tactical tricks to get out — with ease — from more complex situations.
When he received a pass with his back to the opposing goal, Di Stéfano knew that accuracy was not as important as the surprise factor. What does that mean? If you handle the ball, instead of shooting it unexpectedly, the goalkeeper is already more prepared to defend the ball. However, if you shoot it immediately, the goalkeeper won't have enough reaction of time, thus enhancing the chances of scoring the goal. Who knew how to do this very well was Steve Bloomer, one of the best players of all-time.
Back in the day, Bloomer, in situations similar to Di Stéfano, shot first, unexpectedly, with incredible speed, without stopping the ball to think or anything like that. Of course, Bloomer had a more precise and withering finish than Di Stéfano. Bloomer's shot, however, sometimes did not come out with the necessary precision and strength, but the effect of being something unexpected meant that the goalkeeper did not have time to react to defend the ball, even though the ball was not so much well-placed.
Di Stéfano knew about this surprise effect — and very well. That's why he had several goals in which he turned and shot quickly, without giving the goalkeeper any time to move correctly. Another great feature of Di Stéfano was the surprise shot through the heel — an even more unexpected. In that respect, Di Stéfano was very reminiscent of David Jack, a brilliant inside right who had this same characteristic of the Argentine.