Pele’s former club Santos were 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 were 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 them 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.
Santos had looked set to stave off relegation when they 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-time Copa Libertadores champions to relegation.
At the other end of the table, Endrick 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 them win 10 state and six Brazilian league titles.
Santos have also produced players such as Robinho, Neymar and Rodrygo.