Hernanes can be used as a playmaker in the centre attacking midfield role. He is notable for his ambidexterity, as well as being neat and tidy in possession, with the ability to spray the ball out wide in order to stretch play. He is also an accurate and powerful striker of the ball.
On 6 August 2010, São Paulo agreed to sell Hernanes to Lazio. Hernanes signed a five-year contract. Lazio also paid €11.1 million to São Paulo and third-parties owner Traffic Group. He scored on his debut, putting away a penalty in a practice match against Deportivo La Coruña, having previously been brought down in the box. He also assisted Sergio Floccari for Lazio's third goal. His first Serie A goal was also on a penalty, against Bologna in another 3–1 victory. On 3 December 2010 he scored the third goal in a 3–1 win over Internazionale with a free kick. He concluded the season with 11 goals equal to Lazio's best midfielder's goal scorer in one season, superstar Czech international Pavel Nedved.
Hernanes received his first International red card in a game against France after challenging for the ball against Karim Benzema mid-air but accidentally missing the ball and getting Benzema in the right area of his chest. Hernanes was once again called up by the new Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to the game against Italy at Geneva a game that ended 2–2. Hernanes was substituted at the end of the game.