Santos FC, the home of legendary footballer Pele, suffered a shock relegation from Brazil's top division on Thursday, December 7. Santos's poor season concluded with a defeat against Fortaleza at home and that resulted in a relegation from Brasileiro Serie A for the first time in 111 years of club history.
One of the most successful Brazilian clubs with eight Serie A titles finished the season in the 17th position in the points table. A 1-2 defeat against Fortaleza was their 17th loss of the season. They fell only a point short of 16th-placed Bahia, who avoided relegation with 44 points.
Santos were one of three clubs along with Sao Paolo and Flamengo to never get relegated from the top league. Apart from Pele, the current Brazil football captain Neymar also kicked off his career at Santos where he scored over 100 goals before joining Spanish giants Barcelona. Real Madrid's rising forward Rodrygo also arrived from Santos for €45 million in 2019.
Pele spent 19 years at Santos from 1956 to 1974 and scored 569 goals to go down in history as one of the best forwards of all time. Santos won their first six Serie A titles with Pele and latest two in 2002 and 2004. Pele, who died due to cancer in December 2022, was draped in Santos FC flag.
Meanwhile, Palmeiras successfully defended their title as they pulled off a 1-1 away draw against Cruzeiro on Thursday. Palmeiras finished the season only two points ahead of second-placed Gremio who beat Fluminense 3-2 in the last game. Palmerias now have claimed 12 Brasileiro Serie A titles, more than any other football club in Brazil.
Goias, Coritiba and America MG were also relegated from the top division this season and will feature in the Serie B next year. Atletico Mineiro and Flamengo finished in third and fourth place respectively to secure direct qualification to the next year's Copa Libertadores group stages.