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1962: Di Stéfano talks to De Santis

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2021-09-30 15:49:20

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Di Stéfano: "I owe the ball everything"
De Santis | 1962

Consecrated around the world (especially in Europe) as one of the most perfect players today, Argentine born Don Alfredo Di Stéfano — in the land where the great popular idols have always been bullfighters, he is currently the greatest of the idols. On the premises of Real Madrid, Di Stéfano spoke to the journalist:
— I don't expect anything more from football, as I've already achieved almost everything I wanted from it, with the exception of the title of world champion. However, I cannot complain about my luck, because, thanks to my dear vieja, I have achieved a fortune that will allow me to live comfortably.
We inquired about how much their assets amounted to. Di Stéfano tried to change the subject, but ended up confessing that, in addition to his luxurious mansion on Hanares Street in Madrid, he owns an estancia, with more than 600 cows, which is about 90 kilometers from Buenos Aires.
— I would like to take this opportunity to clarify that I am not, at all, the "owner" of the Real team, much less the team's maestro, as the Brazilian press publicized in general. What happens is the following: as I'm a veteran player, and therefore accustomed to the particular characteristics of each clash, my words are accepted by newcomers or less experienced than I am. This is the reason why, I inspire and guide the movements of the board according to the maneuvers used by the opponent. That's why they say that "the style, pace and intensity of Real's actions match the intensity, style and pace of Di Stéfano".
Continuing, he stressed that he never took advantage of his prestige with the Spanish public or the leaders of Real Madrid, to impose special treatment for himself, or to charge against any of his teammates.
— Much has been said and commented — he asserted — about a possible case, a possible misunderstanding that would have existed between me and Didi. Is not true. I consider Didi a master of the ball, as were, in the past, Moreno, Zizinho, Pedernera, Rossi, Danilo, Loustau, and as they are in today's football, Pelé, Kopa, Sívori, Puskás and Gento. I've long been used to applauding his precious passes, his brain-throwing a whole range of virtues that made him one of the greatest forwards in the world. However, I opposed his tranfer because I knew that his style of play (slow, measured, calculated) would never adapt to the very fast pace developed by Real, mainly by the vanguard. As I have already done, it was in relation to Puskás (who was used to playing more stationary), I warned Didi of the difference between playing in South America and in Spain. Didi doesn't seem to understand (or didn't want to understand) preferring to declare that I was sabotaging him... The fact is that Didi ended up sabotaging himself, thus losing a golden opportunity to earn money in the club that best pays its professionals, across the globe: Real Madrid.
Finally, commented Di Stéfano:
— I lost count of the goals I've scored throughout my career. One thing, however, I guarantee: even now, when I'm about to sing my "swan song" in football (within a year, maybe, give up the boots) when I score a goal I feel that same childlike joy I felt when scoring the goals of Iman S.C., the humble team from the Flores neighborhood, in Buenos Aires, where, like any pibe I was born and raised, learning to venerate the one to whom, today, at the age of 35, I owe everything I've achieved in life: the ball.
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