Sir Alex Ferguson has paid tribute to the late Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano who passed away yesterday evening at the age of 88.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Ferguson called Di Stefano ‘a truly, truly wonderful footballer’ and praised his ‘wonderful balance, poise, beautiful movement and grace’.
Ferguson was present for the famous European Cup final at Hampden Park in 1960 in which Real Madrid won 7-3 against Eintracht Frankfurt with Di Stefano scoring a hat-trick.
The former Man United manager recalled his most famous meeting with Di Stefano, when his Aberdeen clashed with Di Stefano’s Real Madrid in the 1983 European Cup Winners Final.
In quotes provided by Sky Sports, Ferguson recalled meeting an idol of his: “But my greatest memory is Aberdeen beating Real Madrid in the Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1983. He was the coach at the time.
“It was an honour to come up against Di Stefano. What I did, out of respect for him, was I bought a bottle of Scottish Malt whisky and gave it to him the night before the match when the two teams had an opportunity to train on the pitch at the venue for the final.
“We were second, they were first. When he came off, they were coming down the tunnel and I said ‘Mr Di Stefano, I’d like to give you this gift.’ He was taken aback, he was really taken aback.
“He didn’t know what I was saying of course – I don’t speak Spanish, he doesn’t speak English. But there was an accord there – he was grateful.
“They were household names. But Aberdeen were a team on the rise, all brought up at Aberdeen, all Scottish lads. It was an amazing achievement. And after the game he was very, very generous.
“He said, ‘Aberdeen are a team that money can’t buy. They have a soul, and a family spirit’. Those words – you couldn’t say any more, in terms of praise for a football team. It was very generous of him.
You can hear the entire interview below.