Fred began his career at América Mineiro before transferring to local rivals Cruzeiro in 2004. After two seasons there, he moved to Lyon of France in a protracted transfer saga, and won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles. He made his international debut for Brazil in 2005 and was selected for the 2006 World Cup, and was also part of their victories at the 2007 Copa América and the 2013 Confederations Cup. From 2009 to 2016, Fred played for Fluminense, where he won two Campeonato Brasileiro Série A titles in 2 years (2010 and 2012) and Campeonato Carioca (2012 – scoring in final). In June 2016, Fred signed for Atlético Mineiro.
Fred scored one of the fastest goals in professional football history while playing for América Mineiro, against Vila Nova during a Copa São Paulo de Juniores match. The goal was scored 3.17 seconds after the match started.
Fred spent four seasons at América Mineiro of Belo Horizonte before he left for their city rival Cruzeiro in middle of the 2004 season. As Feyenoord had an agreement with América, the Dutch club received Magrão from Cruzeiro, and retained 10% economic rights on Fred, and Fred himself held 15%.
After scoring 41 goals in 43 games for Cruzeiro in the 2005 season, Fred was signed by defending Ligue 1 champions Lyon for €15 million. (of which €3 million was received by Fred, 5% as a solidarity contribution, €1.4 million to Lyon's agent and €510,913 in Brazilian taxes). Feyenoord then claimed Cruzeiro's 10% of the transfer fee, as the club alleged the fee was €1.5 million instead of the €933,908.70 in Cruzeiro's viewpoint. The Dutch club sued to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and won.
With 14 goals in his first season, Fred was the second-highest goalscorer in the 2005–06 Ligue 1 season, and won his first league title with Lyon. Although he missed two months of the 2006–07 season, Fred still scored 11 goals in 20 games, and was the club's top scorer as Lyon defended their title. During the 2007–08 season, however, Fred was injured during a training session at the 2007 Copa América. He made his comeback in October 2007, but due to competition with new signing Milan Baroš and youth product Karim Benzema, Fred had limited first team opportunities. Arguably, his most known moment was scoring the goal against Real Madrid in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League after a long pass by Juninho, where he outstrengthed defenders Sergio Ramos and Fabio Cannavaro before chipping the ball over goalkeeper Iker Casillas and into the goal. Fred played 15 games out of possible 20 for Lyon in the 2008–09 season. He played his last match for Lyon on 10 January 2009 after he requested to leave the club in December 2008. On 26 February 2009, he was released from his contract.
After being released from Lyon and refusing to return from Brazil, Fred signed a pre-contract with Brazilian club Fluminense, consequently agreeing to a five-year deal. He scored twice on his debut on 15 March 2009, as Fluminense beat Macaé 3–1. Fred helped Fluminense escape from relegation in 2009, and subsequently was the leader of the team that won the 2010 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A. Later in July 2011, he went on to break the record for most goals in the Brasileiro when he scored a brace against Bahia, taking his tally to 44 goals. The record was previously held by Magno Alves. On 11 November 2012, Fred scored two goals in a 3–2 win over Palmeiras, clinching the 2012 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A for Fluminense. Fred almost left the club after disagreements with head coach Levir Culpi in April 2016, but eventually remained.
On 8 June 2016, Atlético Mineiro club president Daniel Nepomuceno announced on his Twitter account that the club had signed Fred. The player agreed to a two-year deal with the club, according to its press representatives. Fred made his Atlético debut on 12 June 2016 in the Clássico Mineiro against rivals Cruzeiro. He scored and celebrated against his former club in a 2–3 defeat at the Estádio Independência. Fred was the top goalscorer of the 2016 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, along with two other players, with 14 goals. He achieved the feat for the third time in his career, which is a record (also shared, with Romário, Túlio Maravilha and Dadá Maravilha).
Fred made his debut for Brazil as a late substitute in a friendly match against Guatemala on 27 April 2005. He scored his first two international goals on 12 November 2005 in an 8–0 friendly win against the United Arab Emirates.
Although he did not play during the qualifying campaign, Fred was named in Brazil's 2006 FIFA World Cup squad as a cover for strikers Ronaldo, Adriano and Robinho. After entering as a substitute, he scored in a 2–0 victory against Australia on 18 June when he tapped-in a shot from Robinho which had rebounded off the inside of goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer's near post in the 90th minute. The result put Brazil into the last 16 with a game to spare.
In the 2011 Copa América, Fred scored an 89th-minute equaliser against Paraguay in a 2–2 draw. In the quarter-finals, he was one of four Brazil players to miss in a 2–0 penalty shootout loss against the same opposition.
In 2013, Fred was established as Brazil's first-choice centre-forward by returning manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. On 6 February, Fred scored in a 2–1 defeat to England at Wembley Stadium, and went on to score in the return fixture, becoming the first player to score at the renovated Maracanã Stadium.
At the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, Fred was the joint topscorer of the tournament with five goals, and was awarded the Silver Shoe. On 22 June, he scored twice against Italy in a 4–2 group stage win. He later scored in a 2–1 semi-final victory over Uruguay, and capped his successful Confederations Cup campaign with two goals against Spain in the competition's final to help Brazil to a 3–0 victory.
In May 2014, Fred was named in Brazil's squad for the 2014 World Cup. In the opening match of the tournament, on 12 June against Croatia in São Paulo, Fred was fouled in the 69th minute, resulting in a controversial penalty which Neymar converted to make the score 2–1 ahead of an eventual 3–1 win. After receiving criticism for his performances in the opening two matches, Fred scored his only goal of the tournament in the final group match, a 4–1 victory over Cameroon which qualified the team for the round of 16. He managed just five shots on target at the tournament in six matches played. Fred's prolonged run of poor form saw the player receive hostile jeers from the home crowd whenever he touched the ball in the 7–1 defeat to Germany in Belo Horizonte. According to Opta Sports, Fred failed to make a single tackle, cross, run or interception during the match, and spent the most time in possession of the ball on the centre spot due to seven restarts and one kick-off. Following Brazil's 3–0 defeat to the Netherlands in the match for third place, Fred announced his retirement from international competition.
It was reported on 16 September 2014 that Fred came out of retirement after previously announcing retirement following the criticism he received during the 2014 World Cup. Despite his intention to return to the Seleção, Fred confirmed his international career is over, as he has yet to feature in a Brazil squad since Luiz Felipe Scolari's departure.
Fred is a convert to Protestant Christianity. Fred had previously been mistaken as being Muslim after his goal celebration in the 2006 FIFA World Cup was thought to resemble the sujud.As of 31 July 2016
As of 13 July 2014
*The match against Al Kuwait XI was not counted.Lyon
Ligue 1: 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08
Coupe de France: 2008
Trophée des Champions: 2006, 2007
Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: 2010, 2012
Campeonato Carioca: 2012
Primeira Liga: 2016
Campeonato Mineiro: 2017
Copa América: 2007
FIFA Confederations Cup: 2013