Why Rotherham United will be all the better for having Cafu in their line-up at Stoke City tomorrow

Rotherham United new boy Cafu. Picture: Kerrie BeddowsRotherham United new boy Cafu. Picture: Kerrie Beddows
Rotherham United new boy Cafu. Picture: Kerrie Beddows
The midfielder is in line for his league debut.

HE'D thumped the crossbar from 30 yards, he'd been a whisker wide, he'd brought the best out of goalkeepers from varying distances and angles in his short time with Rotherham United.  

Finally Cafu was getting what his silky set-piece skills deserved and the ball was flying into the back of the net.

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The new signing opened his account for the Millers in the final friendly of pre-season, at Lincoln City last Saturday, and now he's gunning for goals in the Championship, starting in the opening-day clash at Stoke City this weekend.

Cafu is cool, Cafu is class. Bringing the free-agent Portuguese midfielder to AESSEAL New York Stadium could turn out to be the best piece of recruitment of the summer.

There's far more to the 30-year-old former Nottingham Forest man's game than the ability to impart magic on a stationary ball.

“You can see his control in the heat of battle,” said manager Matt Taylor. “There is no hotter place than the middle of the pitch. It's crash, bang, wallop and chaos.

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“He just calms it down and plays at his speed. There's a lot to like about him. I can't wait to push him forward with Ben Wiles and Ollie Rathbone. That's a mouth-watering group.”

Cafu's influence has grown with every outing since his July 8 arrival and, fitness permitting, he's certain to start against the Potters at the bet365 Stadium.

Rotherham have nursed the playmaker through pre-season following his months of inactivity in his final season at Premier League Forest last term, gradually increasing his game-time to the point that he lasted 85 minutes of the Imps clash.

When Jamie Lindsay returns from an achilles issue and the long-awaited signing of Christ Tiehi is confirmed the Millers are going to boast midfield strength not witnessed since Ronnie Moore's mob were shocking the second tier at the turn of the century.

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“I feel we've built him up pretty well,” Taylor said. “He still won't be fully up to speed at the start of the season. Him getting up to full speed is an exciting prospect.

“He's only going to get better, and we know we have some more midfielders to come back into the mix or come into the club who are going to allow him to play further forward at times.”

Two second-tier campaigns with Forest brought promotion to the top flight and confirmation that the player is capable of operating in the higher echelons of the division.

It's not just about set-pieces but, boy, those set-pieces. Whisper it quietly because maybe you're not supposed to say this kind of thing ... on corners and free-kicks Cafu's even deadlier than that prince of former Millers, Dan Barlaser.

He provides the culture, the composure. The dirty work can be done by those teammates of his, Crash, Bang, Wallop and Chaos.