Born in the Brazilian industrial town of Belo Horizonte as the second of six brothers, Dedê was introduced to football at an early age, playing three-a-side matches with his brothers in his parents' apartment. "Our living room was the biggest room and also our playing field, with the doors to the kitchen and the bedroom as our goals. Well, you can imagine, we always broke things in the living room." On club level, Dedê first played for the local club of Atlético Mineiro, both as a junior and senior.
In 1997 he was awarded with a Bola de Prata, a Silver Ball, by the authoritative magazine Placar as the best player on his position in the Brazilian league. That year he also signed for Borussia Dortmund, where the winger soon won the fans' hearts with his committed, spectacular performances. He not only became a regular starter for BVB, he was also one of the key players in the club's championship winning season of 2001-02. After a brief stint with the Olympic team, cut short by a knee injury, Dedê finally made his debut for the Seleção in Brazil's 4-1 win over Hungary in April 2004. The -year-old is now Dortmund's longest serving player, and has established himself as one of the most valuable players at the club. In the past he has also always been a great help by integrating his Brazilian compatriots into the team.