Why the rest of pre-season is so important to Rotherham United new signing Cafu

Cafu shows off the third stripCafu shows off the third strip
Cafu shows off the third strip
The free agent has agreed a 12-month contract.

NEW boy Cafu is throwing himself into an arduous pre-season programme after joining Rotherham United for the forthcoming Championship campaign.

The Portuguese midfielder last week signed a one-year deal following his departure from Nottingham Forest whom he helped reach the Premier League in 2022.

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He was a regular second-tier performer at the City Ground but comes to the Millers short of match action after making only one top-flight appearance last term.

The 30-year-old, who has been in Murcia for a training camp with his new teammates, recognises the need to push himself hard in the build-up to next month's opening day.

“It's a very important time for me because last year I didn't play much,”  he said. “Pre-season is the toughest part of the year. Every player doesn't like pre-season but we know at the same time that it is vital for building up fitness.”

Cafu stood out for Forest at Championship level and the capture of a player of his quality is seen as a coup by Rotherham who are looking to establish themselves long term in the division after staying up last term.

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The Portugal youth international already knows how it feels to win at New York having been part of the Nottingham side that triumphed 1-0 there in February 2021.

The newcomer found two familiar faces waiting to greet him when he became the Millers' sixth summer signing: centre-half Tyler Blackett and coach Brent Dickinson with whom he was at Forest.

“They are very good guys and have welcomed me,” he said.

Cafu has had an impressive career, winning league titles and cup competitions with Polish side Legia Warsaw and Greek team Olympiacos and playing in the Champions League.

He left the City Ground in May after 73 games in all competitions and had become a free agent when Rotherham made their move for him.

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“I'm happy to be here,”  he said. “I am the kind of player who always wants the ball, someone who will take risks.”

Meanwhile, the new arrival’s first Millers appearance didn’t come on the pitch.

He was immediately asked to model the club's 2023/24 third strip and posed in front of the cameras as Rotherham unveiled his signing and their lilac kit at the same time on Saturday morning.