Careca began his footballing career in his home state of São Paulo with local side Guarani in 1978. With his finishing ability and devastating pace quickly established himself as one of his country's best young strikers. With Guarani, he won the Brazilian Championship during his first season and the Brazilian Second Division in 1981.
By 1983 he had been signed by São Paulo, he continued to gather notoriety because of his impressive goals to games ratio and by 1986, Careca led São Paulo to the Brazilian Championship, beating his former club Guarani in the final. He was awarded Bola de Ouro the same year, which is the Brazilian equivalent of Footballer of the Year.
In the summer of 1987 Careca moved to Italian Serie A champions Napoli, where he was part of the "Ma-Gi-Ca" forward lineup with Bruno Giordano and Diego Maradona. Careca's first season at Napoli was an unsuccessful one, despite his 13 goals: the team were knocked out in the first round of the European Cup by Real Madrid and they lost the title in the final games of the season.
However, his second season was far more successful. The team won the UEFA Cup, with Careca scoring a goal in each leg of the final, one a memorable lobbed goal, and finished second in Serie A, also reaching the Coppa Italia final that season. In 1990, Careca finally won the Scudetto with Napoli, following the success up with the first ever Supercoppa Italiana. Careca would spend a further three years with Napoli, establishing a partnership with Gianfranco Zola, during which Napoli failed to win any silverware.
In 1993 Careca left Italy to play for new Japanese J. League team Kashiwa Reysol. Careca spent three years with the team, during which time he helped them to promotion to the J1 league in 1994. He returned to Brazil in 1997 with Santos, he spent a year with the club before joining the lower-league team São José (RS), where he finished his career in 1999.
Careca retired having played 64 games for Brazil, and scored 30 goals.
Garforth Town owner and manager, Simon Clifford, persuaded Careca to play the majority of a friendly game against Guiseley in the summer of 2005.
The word careca is Portuguese for 'bald'. It was a nickname given to Careca as a child because of his admiration for a famous Brazilian clown of the same name.
Two contemporaries of Careca, which like him played for the Brazil national football team, were also called Careca and are thus sometimes confused with him: Careca II and Careca Bianchezi.
Careca first broke into the national side of Brazil during 1982, but was forced to miss the 1982 World Cup in Spain due to an injury. His place in the squad for that tournament was taken by Roberto Dinamite. He was also part of the Brazilian squad that came in second in the 1983 Copa América.
It was during the 1986 World Cup, in Mexico, that Careca really established himself in world football. He ended the tournament, during which Brazil were memorably eliminated on penalties by France at the quarter-final stage, with five goals which placed him second in the Golden Boot rankings behind England’s Gary Lineker. In 1990, Careca was part of the Brazilian team that was defeated by Argentina in the second round. He scored two goals in the tournament. His last cap was earned in August 1993.
Careca is regarded as one of the greatest strikers in the history of Brazilian football. He was a prolific, fast, opportunistic, and powerful striker, with excellent technique and great striking ability. Despite being right footed, he was also capable of scoring with his left foot, and he was known for his ability to score goals off-balance from angled shots even when running with the ball. Careca was also good in the air, and he had an excellent positional sense, which along with his intelligence, sense of space, and attacking movement, made him known for frequently being in the right position at the right time in the penalty area. Although he was usually deployed as a striker, he was also capable of playing in deeper positions, as a creative forward, due to his ability to play off of his team-mates and provide them with assists, as well as his tendency to make attacking runs starting from outside the area in order to create space for other players.GuaraniCampeonato Brasileiro Série A: 1978São PauloCampeonato Brasileiro Série A: 1986Campeonato Paulista: 1985, 1987NapoliUEFA Cup: 1989Serie A: 1990Supercoppa Italiana: 1990Bola de Prata: 1982, 1985Campeonato Paulista Top Scorer: 1985Bola de Ouro: 1986Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Top Scorer: 1986FIFA World Cup Silver Boot: 1986South American Team of the Year: 1986