A cerebral, deep-lying midfielder, Kleberson was lauded as the driving force behind Brazil's Korea/Japan 2002 triumph by then-coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. This was quite a distinction given that the Urai native, who started out at Atletico Paranaense in 1998, only made his international debut a little over four months before the tournament got underway.
Kleberson helped Atletico win two state championships and the Brasileirao in 2001, but it was his performances in the Far East that earned him a move to Manchester United in 2003. He failed to settle at Old Trafford, however, and moved on to Besiktas two years later, helping the club win the Turkish Cup, but failing to shine on a consistent basis.
Flamengo ended Kleberson's somewhat disappointing stay in Europe in 2007. Thereafter, he has begun making up for lost time. Defensively adept and, aided by his vision and passing, he helped O Mengão lift the Campeonato Carioca trophy in 2008 and 2009. That same year, he played an important role in Flamengo’s Brazilian title run, despite having been sidelined for a time by a shoulder injury.
Dunga took note and, when injury forced Anderson to withdraw from Brazil's South Africa 2009 squad, the coach called up Kleberson, ending his six-year exile from A Seleção. The 2002 world champion took his opportunity well and convinced Dunga that his experience and versatility are a valuable asset to the canarinha in the hunt for their sixth world crown.