After most of Manchester United’s starting line-up died in a plane crash in 1958, Real Madrid offered to loan out Alfredo Di Stéfano, the world’s best player, to Manchester United. All the parties agreed, but England’s FA blocked the loan, because “it would halt the progress of a British player”

When Real Madrid offered Alfredo Di Stéfano to Manchester United

When Manchester United and Real Madrid locked horns in the last-16 of the 2013 Champions League, it was billed as “the game that the whole world wants to see”. Forget the bluster and somewhat nauseating media promotions for mundane Premier League fixtures, this fixture is box office. It may be a forbidden opinion inside the boundaries of Barcelona but this was the locking of horns of the world’s two biggest clubs.

They both possess the fan base, appeal and quality that the rest of the footballing world can only envy. That particular double-header saw a number of fascinating subplots unfold: Sir Alex Ferguson dropping Wayne Rooney, José Mourinho’s apparent self-made job interview and the return to Old Trafford of the supreme Cristiano Ro… Continue Reading (5 minute read)

12 thoughts on “After most of Manchester United’s starting line-up died in a plane crash in 1958, Real Madrid offered to loan out Alfredo Di Stéfano, the world’s best player, to Manchester United. All the parties agreed, but England’s FA blocked the loan, because “it would halt the progress of a British player””

  1. malalatargaryen

    >[Manchester United manager Sir Matt] Busby came to [Real Madrid club president Santiago] Bernabéu’s attention following the 1957 European Cup semi-final, where the ‘Busby Babes’ put in a spirited performance, which ultimately wasn’t enough to stop Real Madrid, who won the tie 5-3 on aggregate on their way to retaining the trophy. Bernabéu was so impressed with the Scot’s managerial work that he offered him a job at Real. Busby was unmoved by this approach such was his desire to lift the trophy with United, and politely declined.

    >Manchester United’s tragedy and history changed forever the following season, when the Munich Air Disaster wiped out most of the starting line-up and rocked the club to its core. Unsurprisingly, a makeshift, young United outfit were defeated by Milan in the semi-finals, who in turn were defeated by Madrid, the eventual winners. **The Madrid president, Bernabéu, dedicated the trophy to United, and even offered the trophy to the club, who refused.**

    >**Bernabéu wanted to go further and offered Madrid’s most prized asset, the most coveted player in the world – the great Alfredo Di Stéfano – to United the following year. All parties had agreed to a short-term loan deal being accepted, but astoundingly the Football Association blocked the move in the belief that it would halt the progress of a British player.**

    >**Bernabéu and Real were not perturbed in their efforts to help. They made a memorial pennant with the names of the Munich dead, called ‘Champions of Honour’, which was sold in Spain to raise money for United. They offered the use of their lavish facilities to the injured and families of the deceased for free and then arranged a series of fundraising friendlies between the clubs.**

    >The first two of the friendlies arrived at the tail end of 1959, and Madrid won both – scoring 12 but the six they conceded showed that United were well on the way to rebuilding another fantastic side. In the fundraising banquet for the families of those rocked by Munich which followed, Bernabéu described Busby as not just the “bravest” but the “greatest” man he had ever met in football. Busby responded that “Madrid are now like our family.”…

    >Fittingly, the 1968 European Cup victory was exactly a decade on from Munich, and saw them defeat Madrid in the semi-finals before lifting the trophy. Bernabéu remarked: “If it had to be anyone, then I am glad it was them.”

  2. lien73

    Bloody foreigners coming over here taking our jobs taking our women.

  3. indeed_indeed_indeed

    Imagine giving ronaldo or messi in their prime…to another team on loan.

    Absolute class.

    Didnt know this. They just went up in my book.

    Salute, Mr. Bernabeu.

  4. MAN_S_25_20

    Not the first time the FA have got in the way. It was there fault the crash happened in the first place as United were under immense pressure to return to England immediately for the football league fixtures. In short the FA are a bunch of bookworms who have never played football.

  5. Coast_watcher

    Brexit even back then

  6. hansjc

    Back when the FA actually cared about young British players

  7. Professional-Mango91

    And yet brexit surprised people.

  8. oced2001

    Jamie Tartt and Dani Rojas

  9. spudral

    >FA blocked the loan.

    Ah, so they’ve always been a bunch of wankers then.

  10. AngelCrisis

    People who “make the rules” or “enforce the rules” can be selfish pricks sometimes.

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