Bernabeu Trophy: The relationship with Millonarios Bogota

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, September 23, 1953. Real Madrid and Nancy of France play a friendly match. An Argentine named Alfredo Di Stefano debuts in the white set. Real Madrid lost the match by 2-4 but won a figure that changed the history of the team and the Spanish football. 59 years later, Millonarios Bogota, one of the teams of the "Blonde Arrow", will play against Real Madrid the most nostalgic Bernabeu Trophy.

The Colombian squad together with other elements, was key on a dispute between Real Madrid and Barcelona, which decades ago fought to gain the services of who has been one of the most important and influential players that has played in the football world. The result of that litigation, left in memory of the white fans a team called Millonarios Bogota, an entity that does not forget, the main protagonist of this story: Alfredo Di Stefano.

Di Stefano playing for Millonarios Bogota against Real Madrid (1953)
Di Stefano playing against Real Madrid (1953)

The relationship between the two clubs began just 60 years ago, when Real Madrid celebrated its Golden Jubilee with a triangular tournament involving the Norrköping and Millonarios. The Colombian team drew 2-2 against Sweden squad and won 4-2 against Real Madrid. Di Stefano played for that team and dazzled scoring three of the six goals of the Colombian squad. The year was 1953, and, since 1949, the Real Madrid myth played for Millonarios, where he arrived after leaving River Plate by making use of the rules in a league that disobeying the rules of FIFA, decided to accept transfers without paying the players who wished. Di Stefano was one of those who took advantage of this rule and got a greater salary than he had in Argentina.

"My move to Millionaires suited me financially. I remember my stay at the club. It was very nice, formidable and we had a very good team. We enjoyed a lot and the most important, we were friends" says Di Stefano. After many disputes, FIFA managed to reach an agreement with the Colombian Club Association. The rebel players could play for the Colombian teams until October 15, 1954, when they would return to their place of origin. Therefore, Di Stefano, from that date, would be River Plate player again.

His guest appearance in Spain sparked a competition between Real Madrid and Barcelona to sign him. Barcelona, without Ladislao Kubala, who was sick (tuberculosis), needed a star to fill the gap. Then, paid four million pesetas (24,000 euros) to River Plate to hire him. Di Stefano then traveled to Barcelona, ​​but there was a FIFA communication; he could not play for Barcelona because legally belonged to Millonarios. Almost at once, Santiago Bernabéu reached an agreement with Alfonso Senior, president of the Bogota team.

With all these movements, Di Stefano did not belong to any of the four clubs and the Spanish Football Federation asked FIFA that took a Solomonic position: the footballer would play two seasons for Real Madrid and the next two for Barcelona. Di Stefano officially debuted with Real Madrid in a league match they won 4-2 against Racing Santander. In the seventh date of that tournament, Real Madrid played against Barcelona, that two days before the match renounced definitively to its rights on the Argentine player. Then the story changed.

Before his arrival in Spain, Real Madrid had won only two league titles. Barcelona, had six. After he left, in 1964, left a trail of eight new Spanish Championship trophies for the white team. In addition, the showcases at the Bernabeu were adorned with five European Cups. Certainly, Di Stefano took a turn to Real Madrid. Now, 59 years after this mess, Millonarios returns to Madrid and will be the star in a trophy that will have more history than ever. The Bernabeu stadium will receive the team from which came the player that changed the history of Real Madrid, Alfredo Di Stefano.

Di Stefano with the Millionarios Bogota shirt
Di Stefano (Millonarios Bogota)

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