Real legend Di Stefano fitted with pacemaker

January 17, 2006

MADRID, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Real Madrid's honorary president Alfredo Di Stefano has been fitted with a pacemaker following his quadruple heart bypass surgery and is expected to leave hospital in the next few days, doctors said on Tuesday.

'An operation to fit Alfredo Di Stefano with a pacemaker has been carried out successfully,' said a medical report issued by heart specialists at the La Fe hospital in Valencia.

'The patient is making favourable progress in the hospital ward and is waiting to receive approval for his discharge in the next few days.

The 79-year-old, who is Real's record goal scorer, was admitted to hospital after suffering a heart attack on December 24. He underwent bypass surgery four days later and left intensive care on January 3.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the game, Di Stefano led Real to five consecutive European Cup triumphs between 1956 and 1960 and was voted European Footballer of the Year in 1957 and 1959.

As well as the European triumphs, Di Stefano also won eight Spanish league titles, the World Club Cup and the King's Cup before joining Barcelona-based Espanyol after falling out with Real president Santiago Bernabeu in 1964.

Born of Italian parents in Buenos Aires, Di Stefano played for Argentina and Spain during his 22-year career and retired aged 40 in 1967.