Not just anybody got an invite to a party in the swank Bar Chicote in Madrid during the late-1950s – yet alone to one held in its magnificent wine cellar, which was renowned for boasting over 10,000 different drinks. But Alfredo Di Stefano, pictured above enjoying a glass from a vintage bottle, was not just anybody.
The party was being staged to celebrate Real Madrid’s 1958/59 European Cup conquest, and the indefatigable Argentinian had played the starring role in that success. Di Stefano, indeed, struck four times in the 7-1 thrashing of Wiener Sport-Club in the last eight, was on target in the 2-1 edging of Atletico Madrid in the semi-final play-off, and scored a stunning piledriver in the 2-0 defeat of Reims in the final.
The French club, whose stand-outs included Roger Marche, Robert Jonquet, Roger Piantoni, Raymond Kopa and Just Fontaine during its zenith in the 1950s, had lost the 1956 decider 4-3 to a Di Stefano-inspired Real and later fell from grace and went out of business, before being reborn as Stade de Reims Champagne.
The only Frenchman enjoying champagne on that day at the Bar Chicote, though, was Kopa, who had transferred between the clubs in 1956. He, and the rest of the Real Madrid squad, owed a debt of gratitude to their near-33-year-old No9 for that.