During his playing career he played for the Yugoslav clubs FK Velež Mostar, HNK Hajduk Split, FK Sarajevo and German Bundesliga club Eintracht Braunschweig. While playing with Hajduk Split he won the 1967 Yugoslav Cup.
In 1980 Ristić started his career as manager at the Hamburger SV. There he started as assistant of Manager Branko Zebec, in 1981 he was caretaker for half a year, until Ernst Happel became manager, and he was again only his assistant. Between 1983 and 1985 he worked almost two years in Braunschweig, where he started his career in Germany.
In 1987 he started in Düsseldorf for three and a half years, in January 1991 he went to Schalke 04, but in Summer 1992 he re-changed to Fortuna Düsseldorf for another four years. There he was called "King Aleks" for his long-term workplace. His third manager job at Düsseldorf he made from Summer 2000 till the end of the year when he again was dismissed for unsuccessfulness.
Between 1998 and 2003 Ristić managed Rot-Weiß Oberhausen (except the late Summer 2000 in Düsseldorf). In 2004 he got a manager position in Union Berlin, but he stayed there just a few months, because his team was relegated to the third league.
After a pause he returned to work in 2007 for just one year at KFC Uerdingen 05 in the German Oberliga Nordrhein. He cancelled his contract in March 2008.
Ristić lives in Düsseldorf, Germany.