Pele’s former club Santos was relegated for the first time in their 111-year history on Wednesday following a 2-1 home loss to Fortaleza in the final round of Brazil’s Serie A.
The costal city team was one of three clubs, along with Sao Paulo and Flamengo, never to have been relegated from Brazil’s top flight but a woeful run of five games without a victory saw it drop to 17th in the standings with 43 points.
America Mineiro, Coritiba and Goias had already been assured of relegation from the 20-team division.
City Football Group-owned Bahia secured its top-flight status with a resounding 4-1 win over Atletico Mineiro, while Vasco da Gama stayed out of the drop zone with a 2-1 win over Bragantino.
Santos had looked set to stave off relegation when it stood level at 1-1 with Fortaleza in the second half and with Vasco being held 1-1 by Bragantino.
However, Serginho’s goal for Vasco in the 82nd minute and a stoppage-time goal from Fortaleza’s Lucero condemned the three-times Copa Libertadores champion to relegation in front of its frustrated home fans.
At the other end of the table, Endrick, who is set to join Real Madrid in July, scored in the 21st minute to help Palmeiras to a 1-1 draw at Cruzeiro that secured back-to back championships and a record-extending 12th title.
Late Brazilian great Pele helped Santos become one of the most famous clubs in world football, the side enjoying a golden era in the 1950s and 1960s that saw it win 10 state and six Brazilian league titles.
It also lifted the Copa Libertadores, South America’s equivalent of the Champions League, in 1962 and 1963, the same years it won the Intercontinental Cup, the trophy played for by the top teams from Europe and South America.
In addition to Pele, Santos has produced a host of outstanding players such as former AC Milan striker Robinho, Brazil’s top scorer Neymar and Real Madrid forward Rodrygo.
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