He made his senior international debut in 2012 and was in the Brazilian squads which won the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and reached the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-finals on home soil.
Bernard started his footballing career in 2006, joining Atlético Mineiro's youth system, but was released twice because of his short height. In 2010, he was loaned to Democrata FC (back then, a club which was made up entirely of Atlético Mineiro's youth players), to play in Campeonato Mineiro Third Level.
After being the top goalscorer at Democrata (14 goals in only 16 games), Bernard returned to Atlético. Despite being young enough to play in Copa São Paulo de Juniores, he was called up by the manager Dorival Júnior to play for first team.
He made his debut with the club in the match against Uberaba, on 23 March 2011, playing in the right back position due to the squad's injury crisis at the time. He then returned to youth squads, scoring the winning goal of the Taça Belo Horizonte de Juniores.
After Dorival's dismissal and the appointment of Cuca, Bernard returned to the first team squad. On 21 May, he made his Série A debut, against Atlético Paranaense. In his first season, Bernard appeared 23 times for Galo (19 starts, 1794 minutes overall). On 14 September, Atlético's president Alexandre Kalil rejected a £3.4 million bid from Al Ahli Doha.
He scored his first professional goal on 29 January 2012, against Boa Esporte. He then scored again against Caldense on 11 February, and twice against América-MG on 13 May, Campeonato Mineiro's final. His first Série A goal came on 23 June, in a 5–1 routing against Náutico. He finished the season with 36 appearances (all starts, 3100 minutes overall), scoring eleven times, leading the club (along with Ronaldinho and Jô) to a second-place finish in the league. Bernard also won Brasileirão's Best Newcomer.
In December, Spartak Moscow had an £9.8 million offer rejected by Alexandre Kalil.
On 30 July 2013 Atletico Mineiro President Alexandre Kalil accepted an offer of £22 million from Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk. However, the player's agent and father revealed his son had his heart set on joining FC Porto, although, Kalil revealed Shakhtar were the only club to submit an offer for the player.
On 8 August 2013 Shakhtar Donetsk announced the signing of Bernard on a five-year deal for a reported €25 million. He made his debut for the Ukrainian side on 31 August, coming on as a substitute for Douglas Costa, in the 1–1 draw with FC Metalist Kharkiv.
Bernard was chosen as one of the top 11 South American players 2013 by the Spanish newspaper El País.
Commenting on the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution, Bernard has stated that he was willing to leave Shakhtar if the situation intensifies, and has made arrangements for a potential emergency exit.
Bernard was first called up for Brazil on 11 September 2012, to the Superclásico de las Américas, by coach Mano Menezes. He made his debut for Brazil as a 74th-minute substitute for Lucas Marques on 21 November 2012, in the 2nd leg of the 2012 Superclásico de las Américas against Argentina, where the Seleção won the title on penalties.
He was selected in Brazil's squad for their hosting of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, making his first appearance in the final group game against Italy for the last 20 minutes in place of Neymar. He also came on as a substitute in the semi-final victory over Uruguay, as Brazil went on to win the trophy.
After being regularly called up by manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, Bernard was named among the final 23-man squad ahead of 2014 FIFA World Cup on 7 May 2014. He played in the opening game against Croatia as a substitute for Hulk, and came on at half-time in Brazil's second group game against Mexico, a 0–0 draw. He was then unused until his first start in a major tournament, playing all 90 minutes of the 7–1 defeat to Germany in his hometown of Belo Horizonte.
He remained an unused substitute in the third place play-off match against Netherlands, which Brazil lost 3–0.As of match played 10 April 2017
1 Including matches for UEFA Champions League, Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana.
2 Including matches for State Leagues, and Ukrainian Super Cup.As of match played 8 July 2014Scores and results list Brazil's goal tally first.Atlético MineiroCampeonato Mineiro: 2012, 2013Copa Libertadores: 2013Shakhtar DonetskUkrainian League: 2013–14, 2016-17Ukrainian Super Cup: 2014, 2015, 2017Ukrainian Cup: 2015-16, 2016-17BrazilSuperclásico de las Américas: 2012FIFA Confederations Cup: 2013