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MADRID: Real Madrid legend Alfredo di Stefano, one of the greatest footballers in history, died in a Spanish hospital yesterday aged 88, the club said.

The Argentine-born former striker and honorary president was “the best player of all time”, Real Madrid said.

Di Stefano had been taken to hospital after suffering a heart attack on Saturday.

Rescuers had battled for 18 minutes to revive the 88-year-old after his heart stopped following a restaurant lunch with his family near Real’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

He had been taken in a serious condition to the Gregorio Maranon hospital which later said he was in a coma, had been sedated and was breathing with the help of a machine.

“Alfredo Di Stefano died today at 5:15 pm” (1515 GMT) at the Gregorio Maranon hospital in the Spanish capital, Real Madrid said in a statement yesterday.

“Real Madrid Football club’s president Florentino Perez and the club’s board of directors wish to express their deepest condolences and all their love and affection to his children, his family and friends,” it added.

Di Stefano was one of Real Madrid’s most celebrated players, having represented the club for 11 seasons between 1953 and 1964, winning five European Cups. AFP

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