Barcelona midfielder Rafinha Alcantara has admitted he could leave Nou Camp should Luis Enrique fail to give playing time this term. Yet, such a move is not expected to happen before the end of the current transfer window, as he looks ready to fight for his place first in the new 2016-2017 campaign.
The 23-year-old versatile midfielder missed much of the last campaign after he suffered a serious knee injury during the Champions League group stage with Roma, earlier in September 2015. He was forced to go under the knife to correct a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and only managed to return to action for the last games of the campaign.
Yet, the Brazilian still had time to recover in time to play Rio Olympics 2016, helping his country to win the gold medal along Neymar. On the contrary, Rafinha couldn't make the pre-season with the rest of his Barcelona teammates which saw the Catalans add six new players to the squad: Paco Alcacer, Jasper Cillessen, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne, Denis Suarez, and Andre Gomes.
Rafinha can adapt to a different position, being able to play in the middle of the park and as well up front. However, his role ahead of the new season is uncertain as the signings of Alcacer, Suarez, Gomes – and the return to form of Arda Turan – are expected to see his playing time restricted.
The Brazilian thus refused to rule out a move away in the near future should this be the case.
"I want to continue at Barcelona but if I'm not given many minutes I'll consider leaving because what I want is to play. But we will see. Rafinha said during an interview with Catalunya Radio. "The best thing for a footballer, the normal thing, is to want to be on the pitch. If that's not here, there's nothing wrong in going out on loan. But I'll do everything I can to play for Barcelona."
Yet, Rafinha already had a successful season on loan at Celta Vigo during the 2013-2014 campaign.
"It is difficult to play regularly in a club like Barcelona because here we have the best players in the word," he said. "I remembered that when I was promoted from the second team, and the club gave me the chance to move on loan I didn't think twice. I wanted to play."
Other players like Sergi Samper or Munir have follow that footsteps during the current transfer window in order to continue their developments somewhere else. Rafinha has hailed them.
"Munir has made the right decision by moving on loan (to Valencia)," he said. "Now he will have time and will earn experience. Leaving gives you more chances to play and that's a good thing."