Brazlian League

“Until Santos is back in Série A, we will not play with the No.10 shirt”

As one of the most storied Brazilian football clubs around, just how do you react when a disastrously underwhelming season ends in relegation? Do you take a deep breath and plan for the next season? Do you keep calm?

No. You make a newsworthy statement to steep your institution further into fabled football territory…

That’s exactly what Santos did recently after their embarrassing relegation to Brazil’s second-tier, a first ever from the top-flight in their 111 year history.

Once renowned for icons like Carlos Alberto and the great 10-wearing Pelé, Santos’ decision came in lieu of honouring the latter’s legacy – especially in the grizzly face of failure.

Pelé spent almost his entire career with Santos, scoring 643 official goals from 659 appearances as the league’s top scorer for nine consecutive seasons between 1957-1965. Such is his significance to Santos that newly elected president Marcelo Teixeira confirmed no player from the club would wear his famous No.10 shirt while they competed in Série B.

Venezuelan Yeferson Soteldo, the current occupant, has to give up the shirt – and hope that the Série B spell doesn’t last any longer than a season. What’s worse, is that Soteldo and co. got relegated the year that the Brazilian league paid tribute to Pelé in the 10th minute of every game. 

Pelé is credited with giving the number its importance in football today, with it having little meaning until he rose to fame with Santos, winning six league titles.

“Until Santos is back in Série A, which is its standard, we will not play with the No.10 shirt,” said President 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.”


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