Barcelona have confirmed that Rafinha Alcantara will miss the rest of the 2016-2017 campaign after undergoing surgery in his knee on Friday (7 April). The news is a massive blow for manager Luis Enrique as the Catalans are still in contention to fight for the three competitions and will face key games against Juventus and Real Madrid in the coming weeks.
Rafinha, 24, has played a crucial role for Barcelona during the current season, having scored seven goals and grabbed five assist in 28 appearances. The versatile midfielder has lately become a key player for Luis Enrique's new three-four-three formation after being chosen ahead of Sergi Roberto to cover the wing-back role on the right-side of the pitch.
However, the Brazilian will be unavailable to help Barcelona in the last two decisive months of the campaign after having been ruled out for four months due to his latest knee injury.
"At midday on Friday local time the first-team player Rafinha underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to resolve an injury to the internal meniscus. The operation was carried out by Dr Ramon Cugat and Dr Ricard Pruna. The player will be out for around four months," Barcelona have confirmed.
The news is a big selection concern for Luis Enrique ahead of the coming run of fixtures which will include El Clasico at Real Madrid and the two legs of the Champions League quarter-finals against Juventus.
Yet, it is an even bigger blow for Rafinha himself as his promising career has been hampered by different injuries since his first-team debut at Barcelona in November 2011. Nevertheless, the former Celta Vigo loanee has already had five different minor injuries this term and missed much of last campaign after suffering a cruciate ligament injury in the same knee during a game against Roma in September 2015.
The Brazilian set the alarm bells ringing at the Nou Camp last weekend after being forced off early during the 4-1 win over Granada with a knee injury.
First reports suggested that he only had a minor injury in the internal meniscus and could be ready to return to action for the trip to Real Madrid on 23 April.
However, Barcelona announced on Wednesday that he will need to undergo knee surgery and now have confirmed the worst thoughts for the fans by ruling him out for four months.
Rafinha is the second Barcelona player to suffer a serious injury this term after Aleix Vidal was also ruled out in February for around five months due to an ankle injury.