Santos, the Brazilian club where Pele spent the majority of his club career, temporarily retired his No. 10 jersey on Saturday following the team's relegation.
"Until Santos is back in Serie A, which is its standard, we will not play with the number 10 shirt," club president Marcelo Teixeira said after being reelected to his position over the weekend, per ESPN. "This year's Brazilian league was named after King Pele. 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."
The nod to Pele comes almost a year after the legendary player died at the age of 81 after a battle with colon cancer. The Brasileirao paid tribute to the World Cup winner during every game this season with a round of applause during the 10th minute, while Teixeira suggested years earlier that Pele's number be retired. At that time, the player insisted that was unnecessary.
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Santos were relegated from Brazil's top flight for the first time in their 111-year history on Wednesday after a 2-1 loss to Fortaleza. Fans reacted to the defeat by throwing projectiles onto the field and invading the pitch, while others set vehicles on fire outside the stadium.
The club now prepare for a season in Serie B, but will do so amidst fan outrage and while in debt. The 2024 season in Brazil's second tier begins on April 20.