Birth of Santos FC: 1912
—Arnaldo Silveira, one of the original founders of Santos, in an interview by
O Estado de S. Paulo in 1980.
My time in football was short, but it had interesting moments. I started playing for Americano, which was founded by Sizino Patusca and Benedito Ernesto Guimarães. I was only 11 when I started playing football in 1906. My father, Turíbio Silveira of the Xavier da Silveira family, was a city sportsman. We had a great relationship with the Patusca, our relatives. We played together in Americano...me, my brother and my cousins while the club was in Santos. In 1911, Americano moved to São Paulo. Then, my cousins and I founded Santos Futebol Clube, which was registered in 1912.
In the beginning of the 20th century, the city of Santos grew to become of great importance to Brazil. Its
port became one of the largest in the world with coffee, a major product in those times, being the most exported product.
 With the influx of income, the wealthy socialites of the city became increasingly interested in having the city represented in sports. Being a port, water sports such as
rowing were generally the most practiced activity by the city's youth, but the city had teams strong enough to compete in the Campeonatos Paulista or Paulistão, with
Clube Atlético Internacional and
Sport Club Americano being the two strongest representatives. Football was introduced to Santos in 1902 via the Instituto Presbiteriano Mackenzie, and the students created the two aforementioned clubs as a result.
However, Atlético Internacional dissolved in 1910 and Americano moved to
São Paulo in 1911. With the city students dissatisfied at this turn of events, a meeting was held at the headquarters of the Concordia Club (located in Rosario Street No. 18, at the top of the old bakery and Switzerland confectionery, currently Avenida João Pessoa), with the aim of creating a football team.
 The conference, which lasted 14 hours, was spearheaded by three sportsmen from the city: Raymundo Marques Francisco, Mário Ferraz de Campos and Argemiro de Souza Junior.
 During the meeting, there was doubt as to the name that should be given to the club. Several suggestions emerged: África Futebol Clube, Associação Esportiva Brasil, Concórdia Futebol Clube, among others. But the participants unanimously approved the proposal of Edmundo Jorge de Araujo: Santos Foot-Ball Club.
 Thus, the club was formally born on April 14, 1912, hours before the
RMS Titanic sank into the Atlantic Ocean. As is commonly said, " One Giant sank into the ocean, and on the same day Another One was born". The club's first president was
Sizino Patuska (who had participated in the founding of Atlético Internacional and was the founder of Americano).
Early years: 1912–1935
The club's first practice match took place on June 23, 1912 at the Villa Macuco field, against a local club called Thereza. Santos won 2–1. The first Santista goal was scored by Anacleto Ferramenta da Silva, with Geraule Moreira Ribeiro adding another one later on. The first official match took place on September 15 of that same year, beating Santos Athletic Club 3–2. Arnaldo Silveira, one of the original founders of Santos, scored the first official goal of the club. The Alvinegro Praiano took part in their first Campeonato Paulista in
1913, being thrashed 8–2 by
Germânia on June 1. Although Santos earned their first victory against
Corinthians, a 3–6 away win at the
Parque Antárctica (now known as the Estádio Palestra Itália), the 5–1 and 6–1 thumpings that Santos suffered at the hands of
SC Internacional and Americano, respectively, and the high cost of travel, forced the team to abandon the tournament and make much needed improvements.
However, in 1913 the Campeonato Santista was first played, with the Alvinegro earning their first ever title after winning all six matches, scoring 35 goals and conceding only seven.
 In 1914, due to an internal financial crisis, Santos only played friendly matches, winning all seven of them. In 1915, Santos changed their name temporarily to União Futebol Clube in order to compete in another city tournament due to budgeting reasons. Even so, Santos still went on to earn another title, their second in three years. With economic stability on hand, the
Vila Belmiro sports park was inaugurated on October 12, 1916.
 That same
year, Santos returned to compete in another Campeonato Paulista finishing in a much-improved 5th place.
(1923–29, 1935–37) is regarded as one of Santos' most iconic figures.
Between the 1917 and 1926 seasons, Santos was recognized as a solid and talented team, but one that could not offer a true challenge for the state title, finishing no higher than fourth place.
 That changed in
1927 when the tradition of the Alvinegro became defined during the 1920s: the discovery and creation of young talent. The team, known as O ataque dos 100 gols (English: The 100-goal attackers), was led by the first major club idol,
Araken Patusca, son of the first president of Santos. With the Araken Patusca was the first Santista to participate in a World Cup, as a member of the
squad in the
FIFA World Cup in 1930, the first World Cup. He played one match against
 Santos finished as runners-up in 1927,
1929, scoring 100 goals in 16 games in the 1927 season, resulting in an incredible rate of 6.25 goals per match. The milestone of 100 goals was a result of work characteristics that later would become an excerpt in the official anthem of the club: Técnica e Disciplina (English: Technique and Discipline). Santos entered a period of irregular campaigns, coinciding with the club's transition to professionalism; in 1933 the president of Santos publicly declared Santos a professional side for the first time. This was followed by the club's first great success in
 During that season, the club prepared heavily for the Paulistão with 14 friendlies, winning seven, losing four and drawing three matches. The 10-1 thrashing of
Espanha at the hands of Santos provided the highlight of its preseason preparations. On the last match of the state competition, Santos defeated Corinthians 2–0 at the
Estádio Parque São Jorge, Corinthians' home ground at the time, to win their first state title ever, thanks to goals by Raul and an experienced Araken Patusca. This historic consecration sealed Santos' first major title and paved the way for future generations to follow.
Although Santos failed to retain the state title next season, the club remained undefeated in international matches during the 1930s, with seven wins and one draw. The most overwhelming win occurred against the
, who arrived at Santos on July 30 after the FIFA World Cup in Uruguay and decided to use the stop to play against a local team, handidly losing 6-1 with four goals from
Feitiço. Claiming they faced the
rather than the club, the suspicious French were invited to the clubhouse to prove that the team that had just faced them was not the Brazilian team in disguise.
The road towards the second Paulistão: 1936–1955
Following their triumph in the 1935 Paulistão, many key players of the winning squad left or retired soon afterwards, depleting the club of its veterans. Santos would finish in 4th place in their failed attempt to defend the state title in 1936. Patusca's departure in 1937 proved to be the closing chapter of his generation and the beginning of dismal campaigns in the Paulista tournament for the following 10 years, finishing no higher than 5th place.
managed Santos from 1954 to 1966
However, Santos' fortunes changed when former goalkeeper Athié Jorge Cury became club president in 1946 and immediately sought out to reconquer the state title. After getting the club's finances in order, he sanctioned a tour into the Brazilian
northeastern regions to face the top teams in
Recife, among other cities, and give the upcoming generation much needed experience. Santos soundly defeated many of the regions' top clubs such as
Santa Cruz, etc. Led by the club's second chronological idol
Antoninho, the club went on undefeated in what was, until then, the longest football trip any Brazilian club has taken. It lasted from November 29, 1946 to February 2, 1947 with Santos obtaining 12 wins and three draws. The leading goal-scorers of the tour were Caxambu, with 19 goals, and Adolfrise, scoring 18.
The club managed to finish in 2nd place in the 1948 edition of the Paulistão, thanks to Antoninho,
Odair dos Santos. Odair become the club's season topscorer with 20 goals; he will repeat this feat for the following three seasons. Odair and Antoninho would also help the club finish 3rd in the 1950 edition of the state competition. This was the first time Santos had two top-three finishes in three seasons in the Paulistão since the O ataque dos 100 gols generation. Santos also participated in the
Torneio Rio – São Paulo for the first time in 1952, finishing in third place overall. The arrivals of younger prospects such as
Vasconcelos coincided with the retirements of Odair and Antoninho in 1952 and 1953 respectively, ensuring the club had the quality to maintain its pursuit on the State championship. Antoninho would become the club's assistant manager in 1954 with
Lula becoming the club's manager that same year.
Santos' 1955 State Champion squad established the philosophy of the club's playing style
It was in 1955 when Santos finished building its base and establishments that would make it a success in the future. Despite starting that year's Paulistão with a mediocre 0-0 draw against
Noroeste, the club would go on to remain undefeated for the first 11 matches in the competition which included a 7-1 victory over
Jabaquara, the heaviest defeat they would inflict in that competition's edition. A 4-2 defeat to
Guarani and an 8-0 drumming by
Portuguesa brought setbacks and instability. A 3-1 loss to São Paulo and consecutive losses to
São Bento and Corinthians put the club's aspirations to the state title in danger. However, the club's strong team spirit, the goals of
Emanuele Del Vecchio, its relatively stable campaign and the 2-1 victory over
Taubaté, Santos' last match in the competition, ensured the club would win their second state title ever, the first in 20 years. Del Vecchio's 38 goals were the club's highest season tally since Patusca's 53 in 1927. He was also the Paulistãos' top scorer with 23 goals. An infamous club anthem, "
Leão do Mar", was created in order to commemorate this triumph.
In order to build upon the moment and provide a capable defense of the state title, Cury set in motion a series of plans and contracts after predicting that several of its veterans might opt to leave the club in a repeat of the aftermath in 1935. He secured the services of several established players such as Zito. Cury also invested to keep several young potentials like
Pepe and the upcoming
Pagão. The club president also gave Lula leeway to scout talented individuals who were trying out for the club. Perhaps the greatest signing Cury approved of was that of a 15-year-old boy brought over to Vila Belmiro by
Waldemar de Brito. De Brito, who was a manager of
Bauru Atlético Clube's junior squad, won three consecutive São Paulo state youth championships between 1954 and 1956 with the child. The boy, called Edson Arantes do Nascimento and who would be better known as
Pelé in the near future, was the main driving force behind those victories. The contract between Santos and the young Pelé was finalized in June 1956.
Golden Era - Os Santásticos: 1956–1974
The first Continental Treble in the world and the Pentacampeonato
After 50 years Santos began to be seen as the best team in the world. When
Pelé made his debut in the Campeonato Paulista in 1957, the team was already twice state champion (1955/56). The King had as fellow players
Pagão, Formiga, Hélvio, Jair da Rosa Pinto, Urubatão, Tite and
Pepe. Therefore, it is true that Santos were lucky to have Pelé. He was also fortunately only just beginning his career at Santos. Santos won the third state title in 50 years, the magical year of 1958 – in which Brazil became world champion in Sweden, with Zito Santos, Pelé and Pepe, and won in spectacular fashion. The team scored 143 goals in 38 games, averaging 3.76 per game. Only 40 goals were scored against them. Pelé set a record that has never been equaled in any state competition in the country: he scored no less than 58 goals, an astonishing total for one player. Traditional rivals were massacred in 1958, particularly 10–0 against the
Nacional. In addition to state titles, the Santos won the
Rio-São Paulo in 1959, beating
Vasco in the final by 3–0 with two goals by
Coutinho, who was only 16 years old at the time. Coutinho also scored five goals against
Ponte Preta, and Santos won the game by 12–1 even without Pelé.
, known throughout the world as "The King of
No other team had a prevalence in Brazilian football as great as Santos in the 1960s. The club won eight titles: six Brazilian Championships (five Taça Brasil and one Torneio Roberto Gomes Pedrosa), two
Copas Libertadores, two
, three Rio-São Paulo, a
South American Recopa, a World and numerous international tournaments. A poll in the magazine El Gráfico saw dozens of experts from South America and Europe choose as the world champion best team of all time the Santos side of 1962/63, whose time-base was formed by
Mengálvio and Zito, Dorval, Coutinho, Pele and Pepe. Coach:
Luís Alonso Pérez, Lula.
Reprioritization, Rejuvenation and Renaissance of the Globetrotters
In demand worldwide, Santos became the first globetrotting football team and played exhibition matches in dozens of countries. A war in Africa was stopped so that the two sides could see Pelé's team play. Under pressure from the CBD (Brazilian Sport Confederation), which the team did not want to risk their star players in unsafe stadiums in South America, Santos did not participate in the editions of the Libertadores 1966, 1967 and 1969. Players from Santos and Botafogo formed the basis of the Brazilian World Cup sides in Chile (1962) and Mexico (1970). On two occasions – against Germany and England – the national team had eight Santos players in the team. In six games of qualifying for the 1970 World Cup "The beasts of the Saldanha" played with six Santos players :
Rildo, Pelé and Edu. The influence of Santos was so great that the defense played with the national team the same numbers that were used at Santos: right-back with the shirt 4, right center-back with the second, left center-back with the sixth and left-back with three. Finally, left-winger Antônio Simões, Benfica and Portugal said: "I compare the Santos 62 team with the national team of Brazil in 70. These are the two best football teams I have ever seen. The 70 side is the confirmation of a game model that Santos already demonstrated long ago."
Epilogue: Os Santásticos' legacy
Santos was champion in 1973, still with Pelé in the team, and again in 1978, driven by the amazing Pita Boys Town,
Juary, João Paulo and Nilton Batata, the Santos of the 1970s were no longer just appreciated for the refinement of their football and became a symbol of passion and rapture. Their fans, who for a long time could not compete with the teams of the capital, steadily grew in number and started to compete with the massive Morumbi crowd, and significantly passed São Paulo and Palmeiras.
When it seemed that the fate of the club would be hopelessly compromised by debt made millions for the purchase of the luxurious Spa Park, Santos came back to be only eleven shirts who fought and drew crowds. In one of the worst moments of its history, which resulted in the loss of the Spa Park and all that was invested in him, Santos rose a charismatic worship, which had its greatest asset in his legions of fans.
The period began with the Santos became the vice-champion of the São Paulo state championship of 1980, and, interestingly, the executioner of this final Santos – São Paulo fan striker Serginho – is who would become the idol of the decade Santos. Passionate team Belmiro since childhood, the irascible Sérgio Bernardino only felt at home when he was hired by President Milton Teixeira to the team that would compete in the
1993 Brazilian Championship. Opportunist, kicking strong and big stamina, Serginho was the terror of the defenses that the Brazilian Championship and became the top scorer with 22 goals. The team took the runner-up slot, to win in São Paulo, Rio lose and be overtaken on goal for Flamengo. The following year the team became São Paulo state champions in a rally-point competition, ending Corinthians' dream of reaching the championship for the third straight year. In the decisive game of ecstasy to Santos, the team defeated Corinthians 1–0 with a Serginho goal in the second half. Santos' striker was again the top scorer, this time tied with Chiquinho of Botafogo, with 16 goals.
The 90s and little success: 1995–2002
This section needs additional citations for
. (March 2014)
In the 1990s Santos won only two tiles: the
Rio – São Paulo Tournament in 1997 and the
Copa CONMEBOL in 1998. In the final of the national Championship of 1995, Santos faced Botafogo, but could not beat the team from Rio de Janeiro the Santos's stars in 1995. For fans of Santos, the outcome determined by the referee, who cancelled a supposedly valid goal by Camanducaia and allowed Botafogo striker
Túlio Maravilha to score while in an offside position.
The new chairman Marcelo Teixeira, son of former chairman Milton Teixeira, tried to prepare Santos for domination in the 21st century. No expense was spared to build a complete squad, with names as
Carlos Galván. Those big names could not translate their reputation into excellence on the pitch, resulting in a runner-up and a semi-final loss in the state championships of 2000 and 2001. In the national league Santos performed sub-par, with an 18th place in 2000 and a 15th in 2001.
The renewed Peixe: 2002–2008
In 2002, after being in a severe financial crisis, Santos let go of high-profile players and focused at their youth squads for reinforcements, aiming to avoid relegation. Bringing in low cost players like
André Luís (loan return from
Júlio Sérgio (
Rio Branco), and promoting
from the youth setup, all of those seven players would become starters under new head coach
Emerson Leão, along
In a more than reasonable campaign Santos finished eighth in the regular season and thus qualified for the play-offs. Eliminating
São Paulo (and its young duo
Luís Fabiano) in the quarter-finals, the club faced
in the semi-finals. After a 3–0 victory at the Vila Belmiro, they went through the final even after a 0–1 away loss.
With Robinho and Diego as the most important of Meninos da Vila,
Corinthians was beaten in both of the final legs and thus Santos conquered its seventh national championship. The
pedalada, one of the most disseminated tricks nowadays, was popularized by Robinho in the final match.
In 2003, Santos finished in second position in the first ever Brazilian national championship without a post-season play-off to determine the champion. The next year, however Santos returned to glory. In a year where fans felt their team was being intentionally hampered by referees, lost the right to play in its own stadium on various occasions and the kidnapping of Robinho's mother, Santos had an impressive campaign. Only two matches before the end of the competition, Santos was able to surpass Atlético Paranaense, who had been on top of the table for the majorit of the season. In the last match Santos did not crumble and beat Vasco da Gama 2–1 for its eighth title.
With Robinho, Léo, Deivid and manager Vanderlei Luxemburgo leaving Santos in 2005, the team was unable to win more titles that year. Despite leading figures leaving, Santos was headed for a sixth-place finish until the Zveitão. Upon discovery that referee Edilson Pereira de Carvalho participated in manipulating results, all matches he led were played over again. Santos' 4–2 win against Corinthians thus became a 2–3 loss, which meant Santos dropped to the 11th place and gave its rival, Corinthians, the championship at cost of Internacional.
In 2006, Santos was fourth in Brazil, securing itself a spot in the Copa Libertadores, and won the Paulista Championship for the first time since 1984. In 2007 Santos lost its first match only in the first leg of the final yet winning the title through a second leg victory nonetheless. In the national championship Santos led the team to second place, 15 points behind champion São Paulo.
With again various big names leaving, 2008 proved to be a troublesome year for Santos. Only thanks to a comeback in the last few games was relegation avoided. In 2008 Santos played Copa Libertadores again. They endured until quarter-finals, when they were beaten by America (Mexico).
The Second Santástico: 2009–2013
With a recurrence of financial problems, Santos recruited young players. In 2009,
Paulo Henrique Ganso joined the professional team; Neymar signed with the team when he was 13, while Ganso came from Paysandu, a northern team, when he was 15. They started to play together and developed a very strong bond. In 2010, they led a great team, which is the base of the actual squad. The team that won Campeonato Paulista this year was formed by:
Durval and Léo;
and Ganso; Neymar,
André, and the repatriated Robinho. They also won Copa do Brasil 2010, beating Vitória in the finals, but with an overwhelming campaign. For example, they beat Naviraiense 10–0, which gave them the status of Santástico (Santos + Fantastic) again. This team is also known for the irreverent game style and the dancing celebrations.
2011 was also a good year for the club. It raised its revenue with marketing and rights, mainly because of Neymar's success. Santos traded away some players from the previous year's team, but maintained some of the main players. Also, some other named players came from Europe to Peixe's squad, like
Alan Kardec and
Ibson. This year Santos won the Campeonato Paulista, beating two of its biggest rivals, São Paulo and Corinthians. The main team was formed by:
, Edu Dracena, Durval, Léo; Arouca,
Adriano, Elano, Ganso; Neymar and
Borges. This team also won the Copa Libertadores, beating
Peñarol (Uruguay) in the finals. In December, Santos traveled to Japan and finished in the second position in the FIFA Club World Cup, beaten by Barcelona.
In 2012, Santos kept the two title per year ratio, winning the State Championships (Paulistão) against
Guarani and the Recopa against
Universidad de Chile. The team started to fragmentate, and saw the departures of Ganso (São Paulo), Borges (
Cruzeiro), Elano (Grêmio) and other key players.
2013 marked the end of the latest Santástico era. Without achieving the fourth Paulistão in a row (runner-up), the eventual negotiations and departure of Neymar (negotiated with
Barcelona), the coach
Muricy Ramalho and the goalkeeper Rafael Cabral (
Napoli) ended up leaving Santos as a shadow of its latest victorious installment. Santos ended the 2013 season in seventh place and had the best finish of any team from the state of São Paulo. At the end of the season, interim manager
Claudinei Oliveira was let go of by the club on mutual terms and Santos hired
Oswaldo de Oliveira to begin in 2014.
Rebuilding process: 2014–present
In 2014, Santos began the year competing in the
Paulistão and completing several signings, including the most expensive player ever bought by Santos,
Leandro Damião. On 1 February
Gabriel (another player who came through the youth setup) scored Santos' 12,000th goal in a 5–1 routing over
Botafogo-SP. Despite playing an enthusiastic football during the tournament (also being the most effective attack), Santos was defeated in the final round by
fourth division side
, eventually finishing runner-up. On September 2, 2014, Oswaldo de Oliveira was released by the Santos board and replaced the next day by
Santos finished 9th in the year's Brasileirão, and on 13 December 2014,
Modesto Roma Júnior was elected the new president, after winning by 1,329 votes.
 The club also suffered with several financial troubles from the previous management, led by Odílio Rodrigues, and saw Damião, Arouca,
Eugenio Mena take legal actions against the club due to unpaid wages.
In 2015, due to the club's financial problems, free agents Elano and Ricardo Oliveira returned to Santos with a low wage, and the club also loaned out Damião (the most expensive player of the previous campaign). On 5 March, despite the club's unbeaten status, Enderson Moreira was sacked.
Marcelo Fernandes was appointed manager shortly after, winning
the year's Paulistão. After a poor start in the Brasileirão,
Dorival Júnior returned to the club after five years, taking it to the finals of
2015 Copa do Brasil and returning to G-4 after more than 130 rounds.
Dorival remained in charge of the club for the 2016 campaign, winning
the year's Paulistão (22th) and achieving a first place in
Brasileirão for one week after eight years. During the 2017 campaign, the club sacked Dorival and subsequently appointed
Levir Culpi; however, after the club's elimination of the
Copa Libertadores and due to poor form, Levir was himself dismissed.
On 9 December 2017, José Carlos Peres was elected as the new president.