I was originally going to put this in the History thread, but the man was so influential in many ways that he really deserves his own thread, especially as he doesn't even register on the radars of many younger fans today.
I'm not a big fan of comparing the top players from different eras as you can't really get a definitive answer as to who the greatest actually was. Here in Ireland, many will instinctively answer George Best, and will then go on to say that he was the greatest player never to have played in the World Cup.
I've never agreed with that, and I personally would put Di Stefano down as far more influential in the grander scheme of things than Bestie ever was. This piece from the BBC's Tim Vickery makes interesting reading:Di Stefano - The Greatest?
Bobby Charlton's comments seem to sum up what made Di Stefano such an influential player. He also said that the Argentinian was 'the brainiest player that I ever saw.' It's been said that Pele was the better instinctive player, whereas Di Stefano took to the pitch with most of the game plan already thought out in his head.
Also, as the article highlights, Di Stefano had a massive influence off the pitch both on the fledgling European Cup and ultimately the Copa Libertadores.
If I was pushed, then I would probably cast my vote for Di Stefano, especially as his influence had relatively little to do with TV exposure. If more of his games had been recorded for television, then his legend would be even greater.
I've often thought that Di Stefano's personality weighed against him. Pele, Maradona and Best were very much men of the people, whereas the 'Blond Arrow' comes across as somewhat more aloof and distant, not suffering fools gladly. That would count against you in a popularity contest.
What do others think? And how is he viewed in Argentina today?Wikipedia article
Interesting to note Maradona's comments regarding Pele and Di Stefano. The problem with a lot of Maradona's statements is that you're never sure whether he actually means what he says, or whether he's simply stirring things up. :unsure:
It's also worth checking out the 'Blond Arrow' homepage. It hasn't been updated since 1998 - a lifetime in Internet terms - but it contains details of his life and career.The Blond Arrow