Starting his career at Figueirense, he had loan spells at Flamengo and Atletico Mineiro before moving to Corinthians in 2008 and won the Serie B, Copa do Brasil and Campeonato Paulista before leaving the club a year later.
Moving to Turkey, Santos supplanted Brazil legend Roberto Carlos as Fenerbahce's first choice left-back in his first season and also broke into the Brazil starting XI during the 2009 Confederations Cup. At Fener, he made 52 league appearances and scored 10 times.
With Arsenal suffering something of a defensive crisis, Santos was the subject of a bid from the Gunners and moved to the Emirates in August 2001.
The wing back made a total of 21 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners during his debut season. He scored a key goal in their memorable 5-3 win at Chelsea while his strike against West Brom on the final day of the season helped Arsenal clinch third.
Strengths: With the ability to both defend well and get forward and help with attacks, Santos is the definition of the modern full-back.
Weaknesses: Concentration and temperament have been an issue in the past and he has been guilty of some high-profile mistakes based on a lack of defensive nous.
Career high: He received his first senior cap for Brazil at the 2009 Confederations Cup - a tournament his country went on to win.
Career low: Missing out on the 2010 World Cup as Dunga chose Michel Bastos and Gilberto as his left-sided defenders.
Style: Fast, strong and with plenty of stamina, a modern full-back.
Quotes: "He has experience in the Champions League and for Brazil and has proved he can deliver at the highest level. We welcome Santos to the Club and look forward to him having a big impact for us." Arsene Wenger, August 2011.
Trivia: Unconventionally for a defender, Santos was given the No. 11 shirt by Arsenal.