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HomefootballPride goes for a fall: Timeline of events since Santos' relegation

Pride goes for a fall: Timeline of events since Santos' relegation

Santos, the Brazilian football club for which Neymar and the legend Pele played, have decided that the number 10 jersey donned by the later will not be worn by its players until it goes back into the top division of Brazil’s football league Serie A, a report by the Associated Press stated.

Marcelo Teixeira made this announcement after being elected on Saturday as Santos’ new president.

“Until Santos is back in Serie A, which is its standard, we will not play with the number 10 shirt,” said Teixeira.

“This year’s Brazilian league was named after King Pelé. We will continue in this mission. We will be back in the top division, but until then, we won’t wear our most glorious shirt,” Teixeira vowed after getting to the top post of the football club for the third time.

Pele’s former club Santos, which is among the most decorated teams in Brazilian club football, were relegated for the first time in their 111-year history last Wednesday following a 2-1 home loss to Fortaleza in the final round of Serie A.

Santos’ performance has been on a downward spiral for some time now but the unprecedented relegation from the top division of Brazilian football has left the fans disappointed and frustrated at the same time.

The legendary club for which Pele played was also close to relegation in the previous two seasons but had managed to stay afloat, which they could not do this year.

Angry fans stormed the home base of Santos, the Vila Belmiro stadium, in search of the club’s then president. The crowd outside the stadium went on a rampage, torching buses and cars, filling the sky with clouds of black smoke. There were also reports of the protestors clashing with police officials as emotions ran high after Santos touched a never-seen-before low in the competition.

The Brazilian great Pele, who died last year, lifted the club to legendary status in the 1950s and 1960s when Santos won six Brazilian league titles. Even as its performance dipped after the Pele years, the club continued to produce world-class talent with Neymar being the latest addition.

However, in recent times, things have gone haywire for the club that continues to ride on its past glory. The club, which dons a legendary black and white jersey is currently in debt, politically divided, and in search of new heroes that could revive its fortunes. The future of the club which once dominated Brazilian football looks uncertain as it faces financial constraints while football in the country that boasts of the world’s most successful international side becomes increasingly more competitive and expensive.

(Published 11 December 2023, 17:31 IST)

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