Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano dies at the age of 88

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One of the greatest players the world has ever seen passed away on Monday, as Alfredo Di Stéfano has died at the age of 88.

According to the Reuters news agency and Spanish newspapers, Di Stefano died on Monday in hospital after he suffered a heart attack on Saturday as he was walking in the street close to Real Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium. Since Saturday he has been in an induced coma in the intensive care unit at the Gregorio Marañon hospital in central Madrid.

Here is the official release on Di Stefano’s death (in Spanish) as fans of Real, Argentina, Spain and soccer fans across the globe are mourning the death of a true soccer legend.

[ VIDEO – The story of global icon, Di Stefano ]

[ RELATED: Fact file on Di Stefano’s career ]

The honorary president of Real Madrid, and one of the best players in the clubs history, could no longer fight on after several health issues over the previous years.  In 2005 he was fitted with a pacemaker after suffering a myocardial infarction. In the past years, his role as honorary president saw Di Stefano being present at every single player unveiling at Real Madrid. He was the talisman for one of the greatest clubs in the world.

A former international for Argentina, Colombia and Spain, Di Stefano joined Real Madrid in 1953 and was the leading light as they became the greatest team Europe has ever seen. Di Stefano scored in five-straight European Cup finals as Real won all five from 1956 to 1960. The Argentine-born striker was one of the greatest players the game has ever seen, as his marauding, yet powerful, style won him fans across the world. He was a hero at Real Madrid.

Di Stefano won six caps for Argentina and played four times for Colombia during a spell in that country’s league. FIFA failed to recognize his caps for Colombia and in 1954 they said he could not play for Spain. However they then reversed that decision in 1957 after Di Stefano became a Spanish citizen as he won 31 caps for Spain, scoring 23 goals.

His death will bring great sadness to the entire soccer community, as a true legend of the game has been lost.

RIP, Alfredo. The legend of ‘the blond arrow’ will live on forever.

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

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The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

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The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

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Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

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On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.