Football

Published: Sunday July 6, 2014 MYT 2:33:28 AM
Updated: Sunday July 6, 2014 MYT 2:34:19 AM

Di Stefano in critical condition after heart attack

Real Madrid's goalkeeper Iker Casillas (L) listens to Alfredo Di Stefano next to Karim Benzema (2nd L) near Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti (R) before their Spanish First Division soccer match against Osasuna at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid April 26, 2014.  REUTERS/Andrea Comas

Real Madrid's goalkeeper Iker Casillas (L) listens to Alfredo Di Stefano next to Karim Benzema (2nd L) near Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti (R) before their Spanish First Division soccer match against Osasuna at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid April 26, 2014. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano, 88, is in a critical condition after suffering a heart attack on Saturday, sources from the Spanish capital's emergency services told Reuters.

One of the greatest footballers of all time, Argentina-born Di Stefano was taken to the intensive care unit of Madrid's Gregorio Maranon hospital after an 18-minute respiratory arrest, said the sources who declined to be identified.

Known as 'La Saeta Rubia' (the blond arrow), he has had several health problems in recent years and is often seen in a wheelchair in public.

Di Stefano was fitted with a pacemaker in 2005 following heart surgery.

His achievements as a player helped turn Real, the club he joined in 1953, into one of the world's leading sides.

The skilful Di Stefano featured in attack when the Madrid team won five successive European Cups between 1956-60 and he scored in each of the finals.

(Reporting by Julien Toyer, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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