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, moving 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 Brazil national team in 2003. In June 2004, he was signed by Monaco in June 2004 for £2.1 million.
In July 2006, Internazionale 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, Maicon was involved in a brawl with Valencia defender David Navarro. Maicon was originally banned for six matches, but the ban was reduced to three. A regular under former 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 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 Lionel Messi. Having overtaken Roma at the summit of the Serie A and winning the league title, Inter went on to eliminate 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 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 Stadium, Madrid. He was named the 2009–10 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 in a £3 million transfer deal, taking the number 3 shirt. He made his City 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 centre-back Matija Nastasić in the second half. Maicon struggled with injury throughout the season, but when fit he found it a struggle to break into the City team, ultimately failing to dislodge Pablo Zabaleta from the right back position and struggling to even supplant the injury-prone Micah Richards for the substitute right-back role fit. Maicon therefore rarely made City's substitutes' bench. When manager Roberto Mancini was sacked at the end of the season, his replacement Manuel Pellegrini was quick to move the player, omitting him from the club's pre-season tour of South Africa and commenting that he would not be in the squad this year.
On 18 July 2013, Maicon returned to Serie A after Manchester City allowed him to move on a free transfer to Roma. His transfer was made official by Roma on 26 July on his 32nd birthday, with Maicon signing a two-year deal.
Roma started the 2013–14 season under manager Rudi García with ten wins in its first ten Serie A games. He was allocated squad number 13, and made his competitive debut on 25 August in the opening league week against Livorno, playing full-90 minutes in a 0–2 away win. On 25 September, during the away match against Sampdoria, Maicon suffered an muscular injury and was replaced in the 35th minute; following the match, it was raported he had a first degree lesion in the right thigh, and the recovery time was around 15 days. Maicon returned in action for the league match against Napoli, helping the team to win 2–0 at home. Later on 8 December, Maicon scored his first goal for Roma in the 2–1 home win against Fiorentina, returning the team to the winning ways after four consecutive draws.
He started 2014 by scoring his second goal of the season in Roma's 4–0 home defeat of Genoa. Maicon made his Coppa Italia debut nine days later in the quarter-final against Juventus, contributing in a 1–0 home win and progression to the semi-final.
On 13 October 2014, Maicon agreed a contract extension with Roma, extending his stay at Stadio Olimpico until June 2016.
On May, 31th, 2017, Maicon signed with Brazilian side Avaí. After training few weeks with Botafogo, he didn't sign with Glorioso, going to club from Santa Catarina. Maicon comes back to Brazilian football after 13 years, when he left Cruzeiro to AS Monaco.
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.
In June 2014, Maicon was selected in Brazil's squad for the 2014 World Cup. He replaced Dani Alves as the team's starting right-back for the 2–1 quarter-final win against Colombia in Fortaleza.
On 7 September 2014, Maicon was dismissed from the Brazil squad for an unspecified "internal problem".
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 an attacking wing-back or wide midfielder. 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 teammate Javier Zanetti.As of 20 April 2016
Campeonato Brasileiro Série A (1): 2003
Copa do Brasil (1): 2003
Campeonato Mineiro (2): 2002, 2003
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