Barcelona have revealed Rafinha Alcantara is set for another spell on the sidelines after the Brazilian suffered a left adductor strain during a disappointing La Liga defeat to Real Sociedad at the weekend. The versatile midfielder, who had only just returned to action following a knee injury, looks likely to miss the Champions League trip to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday (13 April), while his availability for next weekend's league match with Valencia is also in question.
The news is a big blow to Barcelona manager Luis Enrique, on the back of a disastrous patch of results that have put the club's hopes of winning both La Liga and the Champions League under renewed scrutiny. The catalans have taken just one point from their last three matches in the league – against Villarreal, Real Madrid and Real Sociedad – while they only beat Atletico 2-1 at home in the first leg of the CL quarter-finals last week after Fernando Torres was sent off early in the first half.
Barcelona remain in the mix for the treble, as they have already booked their spot in the Copa del Rey final, but their La Liga lead over Atletico and Real has been cut to three and four points respectively, with six matches remaining.
Rafinha made his long-awaited return to action in the second half of the Champions League win over Atletico Madrid last week, finally recovering from the tear to his right leg anterior cruciate ligament suffered in September. After making a good account of himself, Luis Enrique handed the Brazil international his first start since his injury during Barcelona's loss to Real Sociedad, before replacing him at half-time with Andres Iniesta.
However, it seems the Brazilian has paid the price for a lack of match fitness from being out for more than six months, as the club have revealed that he ended the game with a strain to his left adductor.
"FC Barcelona's medical services team said Monday that the first team player Rafael 'Rafinha' Alcantara has suffered an strain to his left adductor, and his availability for upcoming matches will depend on the speed of his recovery," the club confirmed in an official statement.