The current generation will tell you that Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is the greatest player in the history of Europe’s No 1 club competition, and perhaps the greatest player of all time. They may have a point. Then again, quite a few older folk will tell you how Alfredo Di Stefano would have had something to say about that.
Di Stefano was the first star of the European Cup. Uefa launched their new competition – the European Cup would morph into the Champions League in 1992 – back in 1955. Chelsea, the English champions, didn’t bother entering, because the big cheese of the Football League, Alan Hardaker, was a myopic little-Englander fool who couldn’t (or didn’t want to) see what was happening on the other side of the English Channel. Hardaker went on to launch the League Cup in an attempt to see off Uefa’s new continent-wide midweek club competition, and that illustrates his judgment perfectly. Read more here