Santos FC Faces Historic Relegation, Steven Mendoza’s Car Torched in Fan Outrage

Santos FC, a bastion of Brazilian football history, experienced a seismic shift as they faced relegation for the first time in their 111-year existence. The Vila Belmiro Stadium witnessed unprecedented scenes of frustration from supporters after the team’s unfortunate 2-1 loss to Fortaleza. Notably, this historic setback came amidst a backdrop that earlier hosted the funeral of the legendary Pele.

The disappointment among fans escalated into regrettable actions, with one incident standing out — the car of former ISL forward for Chennaiyin FC and current Santos player, Steven Mendoza, was set ablaze during the protests.

Santos FC, home to football luminaries like Pele and Neymar Jr., concluded the season with 43 points, narrowly trailing Bahia by one point and Vasco da Gama by two. The unexpected drop to a lower division marked a somber chapter in the club’s storied history.

Amidst the turmoil, Steven Mendoza, who had notably contributed 6 goals and 2 assists in 26 games for Santos, found himself at the center of fans’ anger. Despite his individual efforts, the pain of relegation overshadowed personal accomplishments.

Mendoza, a familiar face in the Indian Super League (ISL), had previously showcased his prowess with Chennaiyin FC in the 2014 season, scoring an impressive 17 goals in 25 appearances, making him one of the youngest foreign players to leave a lasting impact on the league.

Santos FC, a club with a glittering past, owes much of its fame to the likes of Pele. The legendary footballer guided the team to numerous state and national titles during the 1950s and 1960s, leaving an indelible mark. The club continued to foster talent, with Brazilian stars like Neymar and Rodrygo, who began their careers at Santos, adding to its rich legacy. The recent relegation, however, adds an unexpected chapter to this esteemed football institution.