Maicon had what many would call a renaissance year with Roma, bouncing back from a poor spell spent at Manchester City under former boss Roberto Mancini. His stock had dropped so drastically that Roma were able to snap him up on a free transfer. There were doubters, with Maicon being labeled as a has-been, but he more than proved them wrong with a standout season that saw him as one of the top fullbacks in Italy. Gone were the days of seeing players like Iván Piris, Aleandro Rosi or Rodrigo Taddei attempt at controlling the right flank.
Perhaps not a return to his monstrous self of around five years ago when he won everything he possibly could have at club level and was undoubtedly the best player at his position on the planet, but it's clear the 32 year old still has a lot to give. After being dropped from the national team last year, many credit his rebound this season to motivation for making Brazil's team for this year's World Cup. He's made the squad and credits Roma for the call-up.
Making the Brazilian national team, Maicon is likely Roma's best bet for bringing home (home would be Rome, of course) the World Cup title this year. The hosts are amongst the heaviest of favourites and will have all the pressure put upon them to succeed.
Caps: 72 Goals: 7
Service for Brazil
Maicon made his debut for a seleção as a 22 year old in 2004 and is the third most capped player on this year's Brazilian squad, behind Júlio César and Dani Alves. He'll be wearing the #23 instead of the #13 he normally does for Roma. He missed out on last year's World Cup warm up tournament, otherwise known as the Confederations Cup, where Brazil was able to win rather easily.
Of his seven goals for Brazil, his goal in the 2010 World Cup against North Korea is a memorable one:
What makes him interesting
The source is lost on me, but a few months back Roma primavera players were interviewed and claimed that Maicon is the craziest player on the squad. His facial expressions and on-pitch shenanigans would make it hard to argue.
Aside from his unusual enthusiasm, Maicon is the closest imitation of Brazil's most capped player, and potentially the world's best right back of all time, in Cafu. He is known for his stocky build and marauding runs up and down the right flank, much like the Roma legend.
What to expect in Brazil
At this year's tournament, Maicon will likely have the role of being Dani Alves' deputy. He may get a start in the group stage if Brazil are already qualified, but we should expect to see Maicon coming off the bench for the Barcelona right back if Brazil's recent matches are any indication. Maicon came off the bench in the second half in both of Brazil's warm up friendlies this week, so it'll likely be the same once the tournament kicks off.
Amidst the backdrop of civil unrest and heavy protesting throughout the country, the minimum requirement for any Brazil squad at a World Cup is the championship. Anything less for the five time winners, is a disappointment for the entire nation.