Rodrigo Millar is a skillful Chilean midfielder of considerable experience, known for his well-timed runs into the box and his ability to pick out the right ball at the right time. After national coach Marcelo Bielsa brought the player back into the Chile squad in the final stretch of qualifying matches for 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, Millar rapidly proved his worth to the team, and has now been rewarded with the ultimate prize of a slot in the final 23-man group.
Nicknamed ‘Payasito’ (‘Little clown’) for his tendency to celebrate his goals by donning a red clown nose, the Arauco-born midfield maestro began playing at Huachipato in 1999 at age 18. Seven seasons later he signed for Colo Colo, where he won two trophies in 2007, before moving to Colombian side Once Caldas on loan for a spell. It was upon his return to the Santiago-based club the following season that he started to produce the best football of his career, propelling Colo Colo to further honours and winning the Chilean Player of the Year award in 2009.
Millar’s involvement in the national set-up dates all the way back to the 2001 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina. Since then he has been called up to the full side intermittently by different coaches. He was included in Juvenal Olmos’ 2004 Copa America squad, but failed to establish himself as a regular in the competition’s aftermath, and he was also unable to break through under Olmos’ successor Nelson Acosta.
The key that truly opened the door to La Roja for Millar was his fine performance at the Kirin Cup, a friendly tournament in which Chile only fielded players plying their trade in the country’s domestic league. Millar seized his opportunity and in return was provided with considerable playing time in the last six matches of Chile’s qualifying campaign for South Africa 2010, during which he even managed a crucial goal, scoring the equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Venezuela.