Friday, August 26, 2011

26 August 1963 - Di Stéfano Makes A Different Kind Of Headline

On 26 August 1963, Real Madrid striker Alfredo di Stéfano, who had been kidnapped two days earlier, was released unharmed.

The abduction occurred in Caracas, Venezuela, while Real Madrid were on a preseason tour of South America. Paul del Rio, a 19-year old member of the Venezuelan revolutionary group Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional, took di Stéfano at gunpoint from his hotel. By doing so, he hoped to draw attention to the FALN's attempts to stage a Fidel Castro-type revolution in Venezuela.

They released di Stéfano (pictured, the day of his release) unharmed outside the Spanish embassy and he returned to Madrid shortly afterward.

In August 2005, di Stéfano was reunited with del Rio for the premiere of a film titled Real, the Movie that recounted the events of 1963. By that time, del Rio had long since given up his revolutionary activities and was a well-known sculptor and painter.

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