Dunga may have had an abundance of quality right-wingbacks at his disposal since assuming the Brazil reins, but that has not prevented Maicon from making the No2 jersey all his own. Indeed, despite fierce competition with Barcelona’s Daniel Alves, the attack-minded Inter Milan man has become an ever-present because of his prowess on the pitch as well as the leadership that Maicon brings to the changing room, according to the coach.
Born in July 1981, Maicon's breakout year was in 2001, when he burst into the Cruzeiro first-team and turned out at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina. He made his senior international debut two years later, when A Seleção took an U-23 side to the CONCACAF Gold Cup. There, Ricardo Gomes's men lost 1-0 to co-hosts Mexico in the final, but the Criciuma native was one of two Brazilians named to the team of the tournament, alongside Kaka.
Maicon helped Cruzeiro win an unprecedented treble that same year, and he served notice of his penchant for the spectacular during Brazil's ill-fated qualification campaign for the Men's Olympic Football Tournament Athens 2004, scoring a wonder goal against Paraguay following a spectacular charge past five opponents. European clubs began to covet his signature, and the scrap to lure him across the Atlantic was won by Monaco, where he spent two productive seasons before joining Inter Milan ahead of the 2006-07 campaign.
Blessed with speed, balance, an exquisite touch, accurate crossing and, on occasion, ferocious shooting, Maicon has played an important role in I Nerazurri's recent dominance of Italian football. This, coupled with his impressive exploits in the yellow shirt of Brazil, has established Maicon as one of the world's leading right-backs.