Following Santos FC’s relegation, fans set fire to former Chennaiyin FC attacker Steven Mendoza’s vehicle.
Santos FC faced a historic setback as the Brazilian club endured relegation for the first time in its 111-year history. Supporters, unable to contain their disappointment, expressed their frustration at the Vila Belmiro Stadium. Regrettably, former ISL forward for Chennaiyin FC and current Santos player Steven Mendoza became a target of the fans’ anger, with his car being set ablaze during the protests.
Santos FC, home to football legends like Pele and Neymar Jr., suffered relegation after a 2-1 loss to Fortaleza. The defeat added a somber note to the stadium, which earlier hosted Pele’s funeral this year. Ending the season with 43 points, just one behind Bahia and two adrift of Vasco da Gama, Santos faced an unexpected drop, leaving fans frustrated.
This disappointment led to regrettable incidents, including the unfortunate act of setting fire to vehicles, one of which belonged to Steven Mendoza. Despite Mendoza’s individual contributions of 6 goals and 2 assists in 26 games for Santos, the pain of relegation overshadowed personal accomplishments.
Steven Mendoza, who joined Chennaiyin FC in 2014, made a significant impact as one of the youngest foreign players in the Indian Super League, scoring an impressive 17 goals in 25 appearances for the club. His journey extended to stints at Amiens SC, eventually leading him to Santos for the 22-23 season, before the unfortunate turn of events.
Santos became one of the most renowned clubs in world football, largely attributed to the achievements of Pele. The football icon, who passed away last year at the age of 82, guided the club to 10 state and six Brazilian titles during the 1950s and 1960s. Under his leadership, Santos secured successive Copa Libertadores titles in 1962 and 1963, while also claiming the Intercontinental Cup in both years. Notable Brazilian talents, including Neymar and recently emerging figures like Real Madrid’s Rodrygo, initiated their careers at Santos, adding to the club’s rich legacy.