São Paulo Futebol Clube, or simply, São Paulo is one of the major football clubs in São Paulo, Brazil. It plays in the Campeonato Paulista, which is the official league of the state, and in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, which is the national football league. The football club is one of the only five clubs in the country that have never been removed from the latter league, along it are Flamengo, Santos, Cruzeiro, and Internacional. In the country, the team is the most lauded internationally.
Of all the Brazilian football clubs, São Paulo is among the most successful with its 21 state titles, six national titles, 3 Copa Libertadores titles (which is a record!), 2 Recopa Sudamericanas, 2 Intercontinental Cups, a Supercopa Sudamericana, a Copa CONMEBOL, and a FIFA Cup World Cup – probably its highest achievement so far.
The club was established on December 29, 1900 by youngsters of the state who just watched a match between the Mackenzie College and the Internacional de São Paulo. Their first game was played on May 3, 1902, but was however defeated by the São Paulo Athletic.
In 1935, due to some mistakes made by the club’s board, the football department closed down. Its rebirth took place in 1935 following a merge with Tietê.
The 40s and the 50s saw São Paulo winning several state titles (in 1943, 1945, 1946, 1948 and 1949) after it brought together some great footballers, such as Zezé Procópio, Luizinho, Rui, and Argentinian António Sastre. They also got Leônidas da Silva, who was then from Flamengo, to sign a contract with them after paying 200 contos de réis (around R$ 162,000 today).
But while the previous decade was fruitful for the team, the following decade was otherwise. With the rise of Pelé and his team, Santos, the team wallowed in mediocrity. And because the club’s focus was on the construction of its stadium the Morumbi stadium, all the efforts and resources of São Paulo were pumped out.
After the stadium was finally finished in 1970, the team came bouncing back in the limelight after hiring good players such as, Gérson (who was from Botafogo), Toninho Guerreiro (the goalkeeper of Santos), and Pedro Rocha (who was the midfielder of Peñarol). It was also during this time when Zezé Moreira was hired to manage the team. In the following years, São Paulo reigned Brazilian football after its tough rivals, Santos and Corinthians declined.
The winning streak of São Paulo continued even in the 1980s after it bagged an impressive amount of titles. In the 1990s to the 2000s, the team was able to solidify its mark in Brazilian football history.
The team’s mascot is called, Santo.