Long-term Barcelona casualty Rafinha Alcantara looks set to be ready to help the La Liga leaders in the second-half of the season having started a new "stage" of the recovery from his nightmare knee injury.

Rafinha, 24, used to be considered as the next big thing to emerge from the prolific La Masia academy but his breakthrough into the first-team has been hampered by different fitness issues.

The 24-year-old versatile midfielder missed much of the 2015-2016 campaign after suffering a cruciate ligament injury during a Champions League game against Roma in September 2015.

The Brazilian recovered well from that blow to enjoy an impressive start to the last campaign under Luis Enrique, scoring seven goals and providing five assists in 28 appearances.

However, his carer suffered a new setback on 2 April after being forced to go under the knife again due to a meniscus injury sustained during a 4-1 victory over Granada in La Liga.

Rafinha was expected to be back in time for pre-season under new manager Ernesto Valverde after Barcelona ruled him out for around four months.

However, earlier in October the club revealed that Rafinha had been forced to undergo a second bout of surgery on his knee as the recovery was not going as expected.

"The first team player Rafinha underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on Sunday on his right knee," Barcelona confirmed then. "It is worth remembering that the Barça number 12 is yet to feature for the team this season and that he underwent similar surgery on the internal meniscus of his right knee on 7 April of this year."

Barcelona refused to set a time frame on his recovery after that latest setback but reports in Spain suggested that he could be back at the beginning of next year.

And it looks like his return is now a step closer after Rafinha provided an encouraging update almost two months after that second surgery.

"One stage ends and another begins. Grateful for everything I have received and for everything that's still to come... Thanks," Rafinha wrote on Instagram alongside the video.

It is still uncertain when Rafinha could be back in full training but the Brazilian looked in rude health during the footage, working at a high intensity in both the gym and on the pitch, also completing some exercises with the ball.

Rafinha's encouraging update comes only days after Ousmane Dembele also confirmed that he will be back in full training in two weeks.