Cris spent a three-year spell in São Paulo playing for Corinthians (1995–98) before joining Cruzeiro. There, he won his first cap for the national team, playing on 4 April 1999 against the Untited States in Brasília (a match won 7–0 by Brazil). In 2000, Brazilian magazine Placar named Cris as the leading player in his position during the Brazilian Championship, awarding him the Silver Ball title. In 2002, he secured a transfer to Europe, moving to German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen. This move, however, did not prove successful as he struggled to adapt to his new surroundings both on and off the field. The following year saw him return to his native country, rejoining Cruzeiro as part of their Brazilian championship-winning team of that year.
In August 2004, Cris left Brazil once more, this time moving to Lyon for a transfer fee close to €3.5 million. Having been involved in a brawl during a match in June earlier that year, Cris ran the risk of a six-month suspension that the Brazilian Football Confederation eventually decided not to extend to matches outside of Brazil. This affair, along with the physical duel he enjoyed with Thierry Henry during the France–Brazil international at the Stade de France on 20 May 2004, earned Cris the reputation of a rough, rugged defender.
After an unconvincing first spell in Europe, Cris quickly imposed himself at the heart of Lyon's defense. His first season in Ligue 1 saw the club crowned league champions and Cris was selected to the UNFP Ligue 1 Team of the Year. His second season was one of consolidation: Cris again had an excellent season with Lyon leaving no doubt as to his overall class. He was crowned "étoile d'or" ("Gold Star") by France Football magazine. The newspaper L'Equipe considered him the best defender of the 2005–06 season and he was once more voted to the Ligue 1 Team of the Year by his fellow professionals. This season earned him an upwardly revised salary as well as a one-year extension to his contract, tying him to the French club until 2010. Cris later extended his contract an additional year, keeping him at Lyon until 2011.
For the 2007–08 season, newly appointed Lyon manager Alain Perrin appointed Cris as the new captain . On 11 August 2007, Cris was injured in a game between Lyon and Toulouse, tearing ligaments in his right knee during a collision with Johan Elmander. Cris made his return to the squad on 1 March 2008 in a 1–0 win over Lille. The match was held at the Stade de France. On 17 March 2012, Cris suffered a calf injury in a 1–0 derby win over Saint-Étienne that ruled him out for a month.
On 3 September 2012, after eight years with Lyon, Cris signed for Turkish side Galatasaray for a €1.25 million transfer, plus bonuses, and signed a 1+1-year contract. He scored his first goal for Galatasaray on 28 October 2012 in the Süper Lig match against Kayserispor, a 3–0 home win. On 2 January 2013, after just four months in Turkey, Galatasaray terminated Cris' contract, prompting him to return to his native Brazil where he signed for Grêmio.
On 3 January 2013, one day after breaking his contract with Galatasaray, Cris signed with Brazilian side Grêmio. He arrived at the club as a direct replacement for Gilberto Silva, who had consequently transferred to Atlético Mineiro.
On 31 July 2013, Cris signed with Vasco da Gama. His first match was against Grêmio, a 2–3 loss. Cris was released from the club in January 2014 after his contract was not renewed.
Cris has 17 caps with the Brazil national team, the first earned in July 2001. He was part of the Brazilian squad that capture their seventh Copa América title back in 2004. He was also rewarded for his magnificent club form on 15 May 2006 by Carlos Alberto Parreira who selected him in the national squad for their 2006 FIFA World Cup campaign in Germany. On 13 November 2009, he was called back into the national squad for friendlies against England on 14 November and Oman on 18 November, despite last appearing with the team on 1 March 2006.As of 4 September 2012CorinthiansCampeonato Paulista: 1995, 1997, 1999Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: 1998Copa do Brasil: 1995CruzeiroCampeonato Brasileiro Série A: 2003Campeonato Mineiro: 2004Copa do Brasil: 2000LyonLigue 1: 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08Trophée des champions: 2005Coupe de France: 2007–08, 2011–12BrazilCopa América: 2004ESM Team of the Year: 2005-06