Maicon began his career in his native country for Cruzeiro, after initially playing for Criciúma as a youngster. He played 56 times for Cruzeiro between 2001 and 2004 and earned one Brazilian league title and several other domestic cups before moving to Europe when he signed for Ligue 1 side Monaco. After two years in France he signed for Internazionale in 2006 where he became an established first team player, going on to win the UEFA Champions League in 2010, four Serie A titles, the FIFA Club World Cup and various domestic competitions. In August 2012, he signed for Manchester City. Maicon failed to secure a regular place in the team, and moved back to Italy to play for Roma the following season.
A former Brazil international, Maicon made his debut in 2003, and has since represented his nation on 76 occasions, scoring seven goals. With Brazil, he won a runners-up medal at the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and has taken part in three Copa América tournaments (winning the competition twice, in 2004 and 2007) and two FIFA World Cups (finishing in fourth-place in the 2014 edition of the tournament on home soil); he was also a member of the Brazilian teams that won consecutive FIFA Confederations Cup titles in 2005 and 2009.
A talented right-sided wingback, Maicon debuted for Cruzeiro in 2001 and after two successful seasons in Brazil, which included winning a championship and being called up for the Brazilian national team in 2003, he was signed by French club AS Monaco in June 2004 for £2.1 million.
In July 2006, Internazionale of Italy officially announced the signing of Maicon for a fee of £4.8 million and a five-year contract, along with fellow Brazilian fullback Maxwell and French midfielder Olivier Dacourt. During his time at Inter, he established himself as a reliable wing-back, solid defensively with an ability of making emphatic runs down the right wing, often setting up goals or scoring himself with his powerful right foot. He overtook Inter captain Javier Zanetti as the first choice right back. He is generally considered as one of the best wing-backs in the game.
During a UEFA Champions League match on 6 March 2007, he was involved in a brawl with Valencia CF defender David Navarro. Maicon was originally banned for six matches, but the ban was reduced to three. A regular under former Portuguese coach José Mourinho, he contributed his fair share of assists and goals as Inter won a fourth consecutive title in the 2008–09 season, including a match-winning brace against Siena.
He continued the good form he displayed in previous seasons during the 2009–10 season. He started the season by scoring a goal against Milan in the 4–0 Derby della Madonnina victory, and then playing well against FC Barcelona in a 0–0 draw at the San Siro. He subsequently set up Diego Milito on matchday five in Serie A against Napoli, as Inter defeated Napoli 3–1. He also scored the last goal in a 5–0 win over Genoa. He also made a fantastic byline run which resulted in Milito's match killing goal in a 5–3 home victory over Palermo. In the very next match, he scored a goal against Livorno, where the match ended 2–0 for Inter. During Inter's home leg of the Derby d'Italia, the right back opened the scoring against Juventus with one of the most spectacular goals of the season, juggling a loose ball over the onrushing defender at the top of the penalty box and volleying it into the opposite corner.
Later that month, Maicon scored his first Champions League goal against reigning champions Barcelona when Internazionale registered a famous victory over the Catalans. He reportedly knocked out a tooth after he collided with fellow South American, Lionel Messi. Having overtaken Roma at the summit of the Serie A and winning the league title, Inter went on to knock out Barcelona from the Champions League in the semi-finals, with Maicon earning praise. On 22 May 2010, after beating Roma in the Coppa Italia final a couple of weeks earlier, Inter won the Champions League, thus obtaining the treble, with a 2–0 victory over Bayern Munich in the final at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid, Spain. He was named the 2009–2010 UEFA Club Defender of the Year and his performances earned him a nomination for the Ballon d'Or trophy as Europe's top player.
In the 2011–12 season Maicon played just 23 games in Serie A. In his 23 appearances Maicon scored two goals, the first in a 2–1 defeat to Juventus at the San Siro on 29 October 2011, and the second in the Derby della Madonnina against Milan in a 4–2 win, on 6 May 2012. He scored from outside the penalty box with a belting shot into the top left corner of Marco Amelia's goal, in a game in which teammate Diego Milito scored a hat-trick.
On 31 August 2012, Maicon signed for Manchester City for £3 million and wore the number 3 shirt. Maicon made his debut on 15 September, in a 1–1 draw against Stoke City. He made his home debut in a 2–1 win against Tottenham Hotspur on 11 November, replacing Matija Nastasić in the second half. Maicon struggled with injury throughout the season but when fit he also found it a struggle to break into the City team and was ultimately unsuccessful in dislodging Pablo Zabaleta from the right back position, not only that but when fellow injury-hit right back Micah Richards was fit, Maicon struggled to make the substitute's bench. When Roberto Mancini was sacked at the end of the season, his replacement, Manuel Pellegrini, was quick to move the player on by leaving him out of the club's pre-season tour of South Africa, commenting that he would not be in the squad this year.
After appearing for Brazil's under-20 team at the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship, Maicon made his senior international debut in the team's opening game of the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup against Mexico on 12 July 2003. He was named in the team of the tournament as Brazil finished as runner-up.
He went on to become the first choice right-back for the Seleção, winning the Copa América in 2004 and 2007, and the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2005 and 2009. He appeared in his first FIFA World Cup in 2010 and scored on his tournament debut, a 2–1 win over North Korea.
On 7 September 2014, Maicon was dismissed from the Brazil squad for an unspecified "internal problem".
Style of play
Due to his work-rate and stamina, Maicon is known to be capable of aiding his team both offensively and defensively, and has been used both as a full-back and as a wing-back. He is gifted with outstanding physical attributes, athleticism, and excellent technical skills, as well as good vision, crossing ability, and a powerful shot, which made him a dangerous attacking threat down the right flank in his prime. Due to his success, strength, pace, and power, he earned the nickname "il colosso" (the colossus) during his time at Inter, where he developed into one of the best attacking full-backs in the world, forming a notable partnership with team-mate Javier Zanetti.
- As of 20 April 2016.
- Serie A (4): 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10
- Coppa Italia (2): 2009–10, 2010–11
- Supercoppa Italiana (3): 2006, 2008, 2010
- UEFA Champions League (1): 2009–10
- FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2010
- Copa América (2): 2004, 2007
- FIFA Confederations Cup (2): 2005, 2009
- CONCACAF Gold Cup (1): Runner-up 2003
- ESM Team of the Year (2): 2008–09, 2009–10
- 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup: FIFA.com Users' Top 11
- 2010 FIFA World Cup Man of the Match: vs Korea DPR (GM)
- 2010 FIFA World Cup: Dream Team
- UEFA Club Defender of the Year (1): 2009–10
- FIFA FIFPro World XI (1): 2010
- UEFA Team of the Year (1): 2010
- Samba d'Or (1): 2010