The heart of Don Alfredo Di Stefano (Barracas, Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 4, 1926 - Madrid, July 7, 2014) stood in the middle of a World Cup, the only competition that eluded him in his career. He was forever an emblem of world football and the best player in the history of Real Madrid. As a player he was as close to nine as famous false that we speak today. He learned to play that position seeing his master, Adolfo Pedernera, who in turn had learned everything from Carlos Peucelle. The three form the magic trident of Argentine football, a mirror in which you have looked at all the stars that had the football in that country. In his younger days, Don Alfredo was very fast, a deer. That speed and blond hair that looked made then a reporter for The Graphic baptized her as La Saeta Rubia, the nickname that has haunted him throughout his life. He eventually won the game on pause and brain. It was technically excellent, had a magnificent dribbling and dominated all fates, from the past, the auction until assists. He was also a player with great charisma and personality, a natural leader both on and off the field, a winner who dragged his teammates.

Nieto by Italian father and French / Irish mother's side, migrants was formed in his modest Sportivo Barracas Buenos Aires neighborhood. At 17 he joined River Plate. After a year of assignment to Hurricane, it was consolidated in the Monumental team, which even got to change the traditional leisurely style Maquinita Hens Nunez for a more direct game. In 1951, due to a players' strike in Argentina, he moved to Millonarios of Bogota, dragged by his teacher Pedernera. His fame would not stop growing and began to be one of the most desired players in European football, especially after his performance in the tournament of the fiftieth anniversary of Real Madrid. In 1953, FC Barcelona tried to sign him and reached an agreement with River Plate, which was the rights holder and Real Madrid with Millonarios of Bogota in the playing team. The famous case was that Di Stefano was a Solomonic judgment by the Spanish Federation; the Saeta Rubia had to play a season with each of the teams. Given this ruling ended the Barcelona directors resigning and relinquishing rights to the star. In the following lines we will stop at the question of signing of legendary footballer.

The story of the disputed signing of Alfredo Di Stefano has been judged differently from each of the main trenches of Spanish football, Real Madrid and Barcelona. The complicated plot that was behind the signing of the Argentina star deserves a detailed analysis through data and documents, as it is perhaps the clearest political influence in football has been given in Spanish history example. The signing of Argentine footballer openness coincided with a context in autarky by Franco's government was characterized. In August 1953, the State had signed the Concordat with the Vatican, while a month later did the same with the United States in the so-called Pact of Madrid, by which Spain ceded areas of its surface to the North American country for it put military in exchange for money and military equipment bases.

The particular issue had its origin in 1949 when the Argentine footballer, who had by then 23, decided to take strike footballers in Argentina to migrate to Colombian football, specifically to Millonarios of Bogota, Division team Mayor A outside national championship organized by FIFA. At a time when the astronomical salaries in professional football is not estilaban, top South American players saw their salary multiplied, so they had no doubt emigrate to the championship, although that did not allow them to play transnational championships.

From 1951, after the so-called Pact of Lima, Colombian teams could play against their foreign counterparts to exchange regularize their situation. The agreement was that, starting October 1954, Colombian authorities were obliged to return foreigners to their clubs of origin players. In the meantime they could not pass them. In March 1952, Real Madrid celebrated their golden wedding organizing a triangular with the Norrkoping and Millonarios. In the confrontation between the team and the Colombian box Chamartin, he said the blond footballer exceedingly long legs moving around the pitch. His name echoed the next day in the sports press and was engraved in the memory of the technical secretaries of the biggest clubs.

In late 1952, Di Stefano again declared in default, as it did when he left Argentina and decided to stay in Buenos Aires. He did not return to Colombia, a country plagued tired of football "friendly locals and hazardous air travel." He left leaving a debt of 4,000 pesetas with the Colombian team, because that was the amount he had charged in advance for the next season.

The rebellion of the Argentina star coincided with a serious injury best Barcelona player, Ladislao Kubala, who had detected a lung condition that made her doubt the sporting future of the player. With this setback, Josep Samitier, Barca technical secretary, thought Di Stefano as the best possible replacement. While the club was designing the strategy for the signing, Kubala recovered much earlier than expected and could play again. That did not stop the operation of the signing of Argentina, as the technical secretariat Barca considered together Hungarian and Argentinean to FC Barcelona become the best team in Europe.

To get the permanent transfer of the Argentine, the Barcelona team had come to an agreement with River Plate, club of origin was in possession of the transfer of the player with Millonarios club had their rights until October 1954 and the player himself. In football there was any problem while River Plate with a transfer of $ 80,000, equivalent to four billion pesetas, of which half ahead in cash was agreed. The May 17, 1953, Di Stefano came to Barcelona and got to play some unofficial meetings dressed as Barca, while arranging his record and reached an agreement with Millonarios. To negotiate with the Colombian team, the Catalan club hired the then young lawyer Ramon Trias Fargas. The Colombian club, angry about the progress of the player, Barcelona team blamed his escape. Therefore, even though they were aware that they could not return to have the player, they asked $ 40,000 for their rights, in addition to the 4,000 that had the player for its advanced tab. Against this, the club offered 10,000. After a tug of war, Colombian negotiators lowered the figure to 30,000. Trias Fargas contacted with Martí Carreto, he was told that $ 25,000 should close the deal. After days of negotiations, the President proposed that the Barcelona Millonarios, who was touring Venezuela, outside Bogota free to play three games in exchange for the rights of the player. From the moment the attitude in the negotiations of President Marti strangely changed since he refused, telling the lawyer to propose the Colombian club who made them travel to Venezuela. Finally, the lawyer Trias Fargas reached an agreement for Barca beat hosts: a friendly in Bogota, with diets in charge of Colombians, and the club over the debt of Argentine striker was done. In addition, the lawyer failed to agree a friendly match against another team Bogota, for which the club would charge $ 7,000. With all this, the Barcelona team would leave Colombia with the player's rights and cash benefit.

When everything seemed closed, Laporta response was incomprehensible to anyone who had followed the negotiations: "It is impossible, there is nothing to do. We can not accept. They are $ 10,000 or nothing. Or they take it or leave it. " The mediator Trias Fargas transferred the surprising reaction Millonarios president, senior master, who replied, "for some reason that escapes me, Barcelona do not want to fix things." At that time, he stepped in Real Madrid, knowing that Barcelona had not closed the operation and sent to Bogota his "fixer" par excellence, Raimundo Saporta, to try to close the player pass for $ 30,000.

Trias Fargas still wanted to settle the matter, but found permanent and difficult to understand the negative Laporta and his board. So much was mysterious position of President Martí Carreto one of the representatives of the Colombian club in the negotiations, Jose Carlos Castillo, ancient legend of FC Barcelona, ​​the president went as follows: "Confess that for reasons I do not know not interest me, you do not want to reach an agreement on the issue Di Stefano ". The president's response was a castling in the economic area, even though Trias Fargas made him see that if the club played two friendly matches in Bogota, the player would reach the free Barca Barca ranks and also earn money. However, the president said the attorney and said goodbye to him "with an air of relief." Although there was theoretically finish the job of attorney Trias Fargas, met on his return to Barcelona with managers Narcís Carreras and Albert Llach, they were those who had hired him at the time. There counsel discovered that the board had authorized the disbursement of $ 20,000 for the operation Di Stefano and board nobody knew the Colombian club agreed to resolve the mess they had two friendlies played in Bogota.

At this point in the story might wonder why it took the Barcelona president to take an illogical decision for the interests of their club. The latest research of Sid Lowe, assisted by Jordi Finestres and Xavier Garcia Luque, sheds light on this issue. English historian and journalist recovered a dossier of the general secretariat of the Traditionalist Spanish Falange and JONS bearing the title "Subject: Di Stefano". This dossier begins with a telegram sent Moscardó general, national delegate sports minister general of the Movement, Raimundo Fernandez Cuesta, which begged "strongly" approve an order "prohibiting the signing of foreign attitudes and to avoid uncomfortable situations" . This telegram was written in early August 1953, when FC Barcelona was close to sealing the signing of footballer.

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Extract from the Report Trias Fargas explains the position of President Martí Carreto.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid had taken the Barcelona indecision to achieve the rights of Millonarios. Precisely the same month of August, specifically the 16th, made public the agreement on the Leaf of Monday. That same day, President of the Spanish Football Federation sent a letter to General Moscardó, which is also part of the dossier "Subject: Di Stefano". In it, the federal president, Sancho Dávila, cousin of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, states that the press was following the issue of the signing of Argentine player and that was the reason for the telegram. Millionaires explains that "can not pass to Di Stefano to any club in the world without permission from River Plate, which is the club I must return in October 1954". Even makes technical comments like "it seems that Di Stefano exceeds Kubala". He also reported that "it seems that the club has achieved compliance River Plate from October 1954 and Madrid has achieved compliance with Millonarios from now. But ... and Millonarios can pass without permission River (which it does not), or dispose River Player to transfer it to Barcelona until October 54 ". In his long letter, President Sancho Davila gets to say anything conclusive, "Today, the Leaf of Monday published on the front page the act of signing the transfer of Di Stefano from Millonarios to Madrid ... The funny thing is that this company is worthless, because it has the agreement of River and then the authorization of the Spanish Federation. "

The dossier also contains a letter from Sancho Dávila Minister Secretary General of the Falange, Raimundo Fernandez Cuesta, in which he details the matter Di Stefano and full of REQUIRED THE DND (National Sports Delegation) that was to be held San Sebastian advantage that the head of state was spending the summer in the palace of Ayete of the capital of Guipuzcoa.

Meanwhile, the player changed his mind in a short period time. While the July 24 had declared Marca he wanted to play at Barca, a month after he met Santiago Bernabeu, with which reached an economic agreement immediately. In early September, Real Madrid asked permission from the Spanish Federation to make an exception and allowed to sign Di Stefano despite being abroad, arguing that his transfer dealings had occurred before the ban hiring foreign players, who used the same argument to get through Barcelona player. The Federation made an exception to the signing of foreigners and had to give solution to the issue. At that point, the case was handed to FIFA, which appointed as mediator Armando Muñoz Calero, former president of the Spanish Football Federation, key man in the arrival of Kubala at Barca. This took the Solomonic decision that Di Stefano were playing one season with each team alternately. So enjoy the Real Madrid player in the seasons 1953/54 and 1955/56, while Barcelona would in the 1954/55 and 1956/57. After these four seasons, the clubs should agree. The player was presented with Real Madrid the same day the Barcelona president Marti Carreto had resigned from office. A few days later did the directive in full and Barcelona took over the club a commission of six former presidents who are the ones who gave the player's rights to Real Madrid in exchange for half of nearly four million pesetas.

Here ended the account of the facts, but still remained in the air the reasons why Martí Carreto would not get the player's rights from Millonarios and for not informed of the progress of negotiations Trias Fargas to its board, bringing all possible obstacles to the operation was not carried out. In the book Converses with Fabià Estapé, the economist said that the government frightened the Barcelona meeting with the news that the money that had been advanced by Di Stefano River Plate had not happened by the Institute of Foreign Exchange, a must at the time . That failure could lead to the inspection of business managers, textile companies in most cases. Almost thirty years later, Narcis de Carreras, the executive who later became club president confirmed that version of Mr. Estapé. According to Race, Martí Carreto received a call from a senior member of the ministry of commerce said, "Until now you have not had problems with the Institute of Foreign Exchange, but if you insist in Di Stefano, do not know what will happen." "Martí, be sensible, you have family" in a similar way nephew Martí Carreto authors Case Di Stefano, according to which, from the highest levels telephoned him with the following message he said. The same testimony was confirmed by Enric Vidal-Ribas, grandson of Martí Carreto: "My grandfather told me that government threats were very strong and blew from the club to the family and the company."

On February 9, 1955, the lawyer Trias Fargas sent a clarifying letter to Martí Carreto in which he apologized for the tone of the report was made and shown on sympathetic to the former president:

In drafting my report on the matter Di Stefano did it with little knowledge then I can. The situation is now different, because my information on the intimacies of the club is much more complete. Based on it, I can not but admit that my aforementioned report is unintentionally biased. The facts are certain concerns, but the interpretation I gave them no. I know that if throughout that period you acted. As it did was only towards the prosperity of Barcelona Football Club and no considerations other than altruistic.

Other evidence on the matter. In 1980, journalist Lluis Permanyer, son of the manager of the same name who was present at the negotiations, revealed in an article in La Vanguardia the pressures he was subjected Laporta. He said in that article that the president was summoned to the Spanish Football Federation. According Permanyer, the leader of the Federation, Mr. Muñoz Calero, taught Martí Carreto a report on the payment of one million dollars to River Plate and the display of a Catalan flag in a match played for the club in Caracas. After teaching the report, the journalist says Marti was threatened with being thoroughly investigated in its textile business. In addition, the version of the journalist, picked up by other publications, is that every fifteen minutes telephoned General Moscardó to keep you apprised of the conversation.

Logically, these personal pressures made the president Martí Carreto quit the signing of Argentine player. Beyond partisan interpretations of the matter, it should be noted that Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid president knew how to use his contacts at the highest level to take the player to your computer. During the Civil War, Bernabeu was voluntary on the part of the rebel faction, which fought under the command of Major Muñoz. It should be noted that during the first fourteen years of Franco, the Real Madrid had not won any league title, so it can not be considered to be the team of the regime, at least in these early years. Between 1939 and 1953, FC Barcelona had won five league titles and four FA Cups Generalissimo, by just two cups of Real Madrid, then the capital's second team behind Atletico Madrid.

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Di Stefano arrived wearing the Barcelona jersey in two friendly matches. In the photo, with his close friend Kubala.

Clarified this point, it is clear involvement from the highest levels of government in favor of Real Madrid, but speculate that the main reason is the close relationship existing between Bernabeu and senior leaders of the central government. You can also contemplate the possibility that the leaders of the dictatorship did not seem ideal Kubala and Di Stefano got together in the same team as probably the team that would have had reigned in Europe. You might think that the government did not want to export to Europe the image of the Spanish team with Catalan periphery past that had the club.

The value of Di Stefano was clear from the beginning, and his figure was cemented Real Madrid won the first consecutive European Cups, with a team that was the sixth in Palmares to Spanish level in 1953, went on to become the hegemonic continental level.

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