Elzo made 87 appearances in the Campeonato Brasileiro, most of them for Atlético Mineiro. He was only in Benfica for two seasons, in 1987–88, where he reached the Champions Cup final, lost to Dutch squad PSV Eindhoven (0–0, 5–6 in penalty kicks). He then returned home, joining Palmeiras, where he went up being part of the Brazilian league best squad in 1989. Elzo was capped eleven times for Brazil, all between March and June 1986, inclusive. He played Brazil's all five games at the 1986 FIFA World Cup finals.