Legendary Real Madrid forward Alfredo Di Stefano passed away at the age of 88 on Monday, sending the world of football into mourning at a time when the FIFA World Cup 2014 is being held in Brazil.
The Argentina-born former forward suffered a heart attack near Real Madrid's Bernabeu stadium on Saturday and was taken to General Universitario Gregorio Maranon Hospital before passinf away on Monday.
Considered as one of the greatest football players of all time, Di Stefano helped Real Madrid win five consecutive European Cups and was voted European player of the year twice in 1957 and 1959. He is the club's second highest scorer with 308 goals in 396 games, second only to Raul, during his stint in Real Madrid from 1953 to 1964 and is placed sixth among the European Cup top scorers with 49 goals from 58 games.
Real Madrid paid tribute to their honorary president, who also had two spells as the manager of the club, with a picture collage of the star's happy moments on its official website.
Several football players from around the world - Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Gareth Bale, Gary Linekar, Mesut Ozil, Sergio Ramos and several others – have taken to social media to pay tribute to the legendary footballer who also played for Spain, Argentina and Colombia.
Here are the reactions of football stars on the death of Di Stefano:
"The world lost a legend today, Don Alfredo Di Stéfano. An amazing man on and off the field. My thoughts are with his family and friends.," wrote Lionel Messi on his Facebook page.
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) July 7, 2014
Descanse en paz Alfredo Di Stéfano, un genio del fútbol
— Luis Suarez (@luis16suarez) July 7, 2014
Alfredo Di Stefano has died. One of the greatest players ever. Scored in 5 successive European Cup finals. A feat never to be matched. #RIP
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 7, 2014
R.I.P. Alfredo Di Stéfano — Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) July 7, 2014
RIP Sir Alfredo Di Stefano. I will never forget each of the shared moments with such a football legend. pic.twitter.com/J4FFcXM9ph
— Sergio Ramos (@SergioRamos) July 7, 2014