Historic South American side Santos has suffered relegation from the Brazilian Serie A. It is the first time in the club’s illustrious history that they have dropped from the top flight. Santos has previously collected eight first-division titles, with legendary striker Pele guiding them to six triumphs in the 1960s.

The Brazilian club ultimately finished 17th in the 20-team league after completing their campaign Wednesday night. Despite playing at home, Santos suffered their 17th top-flight loss of the season at the hands of Fortaleza. The visitors grabbed a dramatic late goal to win the match on the night deep into added time.

Santos was one of just three Brazilian clubs to play each season in the top flight. Flamengo and Sao Paulo have also remained in the Brasileirão in the history of the competition as well. Santos began the night in the safe zone, but their result mixed with wins by Bahia and Vasco da Gama helped drop the club into the relegation zone. Ultimately, a string of five consecutive matches without a win sealed the fate of Santos.

Several cars and buses burn in the Santos streets

The club’s loss on Wednesday was met with extreme fan frustration. Many people inside the Estádio Urbano Caldeira attempted to invade the pitch after the final whistle. As a result, players and coaches were then forced to flee the field to their locker rooms. However, fans took to the Santos streets to create havoc in their neighborhoods.

Select supporters of the club set cars and buses on fire in the area surrounding the stadium. In fact, one of the cars to be set ablaze reportedly belonged to Santos striker Stiven Mendoza. The Colombian attacker scored six top-flight goals during the 2023 season. He only just arrived at the club from Ceara back in January.

Footage from the scenes, however, showed many automobiles on fire. Large plumes of smoke clouded the area throughout the night. Inside the arena, fans cried in their seats in disbelief that their favorite club is going down. A banner was even displayed inside the stadium reading ‘Second, sometimes. In the second, never.’

Santos has a long history of producing top talent

Pele’s dominating reign in the 1960s helped Santos become one of the top teams in the country. The legendary forward spent the vast majority of his illustrious career with the Brazilian side. Along with the team’s Serie A titles with Pele in the team, they also collected two Copa Libertadores trophies, two Intercontinental Cups, and 10 Campeonato Paulista triumphs.

Pele, however, is not the only star player to ever feature for the club though. Recent top stars such as Robinho, Neymar, and Rodrygo all got their start with Santos. Robinho went on to play for prestigious European sides such as Real Madrid, Manchester City, and AC Milan. Neymar is currently the Brazil national team’s highest-ever scorer. And Real’s Rodrygo is one of the top young talents in the world at the moment.

PHOTOS: IMAGO.