Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson recalled Alfredo Di Stefano's "wonderful balance and poise" as he paid tribute to the Real Madrid legend following his death.
Sir Alex told BBC Radio 5 live that Di Stefano "was without question in that group of great, great players".
"I had the pleasure as a young man of being influenced by the great Real Madrid and Di Stefano. His head was up all the time - he was a fantastic footballer", he said.
"For Real Madrid it is a terrible loss because his presence was always there."
Former Real Madrid player David Beckham has paid tribute to Alfredo Di Stefano following news of his death, aged 88.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Beckham said: "Sad to hear of the passing of Alfredo Di Stefano. I was fortunate to get to know him, he was a true gentlemen and Real Madrid legend.
"For every player, it was not only a privilege to play for the club but it was made even more especial as he was part of the family and its history. He was one of the real greats in football."
Sir Bobby Charlton has paid tribute to Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano who passed away today, calling him "an extremely intelligent footballer."
Speaking to the Manchester United website he said: "As one of the stars of the legendary Real Madrid team, I think Alfredo was one of the best players I ever came across and an extremely intelligent footballer."
He added: "He was somebody I really respected, having watched him from the stands at the Bernabeu and then played against him..... The footballing world has lost a great player and a great man."
Jose Mourinho has paid tribute to Alfredo Di Stefano, following the Real Madrid legend's death at the age of 88.
"It was with immense sadness I learned of the death of Alfredo Di Stefano, a wonderful man I had the fortune to know during my time in Madrid," former Real Madrid manager Mourinho said in a statement.
"Of course I first send my thoughts to his family and friends, but also this is a very sad day for football and football fans, which we all are, when we lose a special person like this.
"Alfredo was the best Real Madrid player in history - winning five consecutive European Cups - and one of the greatest of all time.
"Rest in peace Alfredo."
Cristiano Ronaldo has said the death of Alfredo Di Stefano is a sad day for the world of football.
Real Madrid's honorary president died aged 88, two days after suffering a heart attack.
Ronaldo said Di Stefano's memory will "last forever in our hearts".
Real Madrid expressed their "deepest condolences" to the children, family and friends of footballing legend Alfredo Di Stefano, following his death earlier today,
They said in statement on their website: "President Alfredo Di Stéfano, died today at 17:15 at the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón in Madrid."
They added: "Real Madrid CF extends condolences to those Madridistas around the world."
The club's current president Florentino Perez and the board also expressed their "deepest condolences" and love to Di Stefano's children family and friends.
Di Stefano helped turn Real Madrid into a leading side in the 1950s, winning the European Cup five times between 1956 and 1960.
The success led to Di Stéfano being awarded the Ballon d’Or in 1957 and 1959.
The Real Madrid football legend Alfredo Di Stefano has died, according to media reports.
Di Stefano, who turned 88 this week, was being kept in an induced coma in the Gregorio Maranon hospital in Madrid after having a heart attack on Saturday.
On their website Real Madrid describe Di Stefano, who had a prodigious 11-year spell at the club, as "the greatest footballer of all time".
After joining Real in 1953, he helped turn them into one of the world's leading sides.