Pele’s Santos suffer first-ever relegation

December 08, 2023

SAO PAULO: Iconic Brazilian club Santos, cradle of late football legend Pele, were relegated to the second division Wednesday for the first time in their history, just shy of the first anniversary of his death.

Santos suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to Fortaleza in their final league match of the season, sealing their fate as the last of the four teams condemned to the “B Series” league next year.

This photo shows Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) posing with Brazilian football legend Pele (C) and Santos FC´ Brazilian forward Neymar after receiving for the third time the FIFA Ballon d'Or award at the Kongresshaus during the FIFA Ballon d´Or ceremony in Zurich. — AFP

The home of Pele and Neymar finished their lackluster season in 17th place, on 43 points -- one shy of Bahia, who dodged relegation with a 4-1 win over Atletico Mineiro, and 27 short of Sao Paulo giants Palmeiras, who claimed their second straight league title. Santos´s relegation comes less then a year after three-time World Cup-winner Pele´s death on December 29, 2022, at age 82.