Campeonato Paulista - History - Modern Era

Modern Era

The APEA had ceased operations in 1938, and after the several name changes, the original Bandeirante Football League officially became the Federação Paulista de Futebol (Paulista Football Federation), on April 22, 1941. São Paulo signed Leonidas da Silva in the following year and won five of the next eight championships. Palestra Itália change its name to Palmeiras in 1943 due to a World War II period law that banned Axis Powers's references in sport. Football grows within the state and a second division is created in 1948, allowing upstate teams to take part in major league competition. XV de Novembro from Piracicaba was the first team promoted to the top flight.

São Paulo, Palmeiras and Corinthians dominated titles in early fifties. Santos, although having competed consistently, would need waiting few more years to gain top status. 1957 saw the introduction of one of football's greatest players, Pelé. His goals helped Santos to win nine of the next twelve championships. Pelé was the league top scorer in every year between 1957 and 1965 including a record 58 goals in a single season. Santos won numerous competitions at the state, national, regional and international level. Palmeiras's "Academia" teams were the only ones able to break such dominance in the sixties.

Since 1960s, Brazil began to develop more mature national competitions which competed with the state and regional tournaments for supporter's attention. In 1977, Corinthians' were able to win a title after a 24 year drought, and the early eighties saw the battle between Corinthians (led by Sócrates) and São Paulo's (Serginho Chulapa). The "Corinthians Democracy" won in 1982 and 1983 while introducing a new philosophy in club management, where players participate in all decisions with management. São Paulo became the most successful team of the decade, winning the championship in 1980, 1981, 1985, 1987 and 1989. The last years saw the emergence of players such as Müller and Silas (known as the "Menudos do Morumbi") on that team. Internacional from Limeira accomplished a great upset in 1986 by defeating Palmeiras to win the final.

Bragantino vs. Novorizontino was the final in the 1990 championship in the Paulistão's biggest ever upset. Palmeiras' fans saw their club win the 1993, 1994 and 1996 championships with the greatest Brazilian squad of the decade. Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos, Edmundo, César Sampaio are among the members of the "Green Machine" which scored 100 goals in the 1996 tournament. Corinthians conquered the trophy five times in the 1995-2003 period, thus becoming the most successful team in the first 100 years of the Campeonato Paulista, with 25 titles.

Since 2000, Campeonato Paulista has lost popularity with each year. The main São Paulo state teams treat the tournament as tune-ups for the more lucrative Copa Libertadores and Brazilian National Championship. However, the Paulistão, as well as the other state tournaments in Brazil, still hold significance by providing developing talent and sustaining grass-roots soccer within the state.

Read more about this topic:  Campeonato Paulista, History

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