Barcelona, December 4: Barcelona midfielder Rafinha is set to spend six months on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on his left knee, ending his season for the La Liga's champions.
Rafinha featured as a substitute in the 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid on November 24, but the next day Barca announced he had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
The Brazilian had already been out of favour at the club, making just five appearances in LaLiga since returning from a loan spell with Inter last term.
That temporary switch allowed him to build up fitness following another serious knee injury sustained in April 2017, which kept him out for eight months.
Rafinha also missed six months of action during the 2015-16 campaign due to an ACL injury.
This latest problem comes at a particularly inopportune time, as his father Mazinho recently revealed Rafinha was seriously considering leaving Barca in January due to a lack of football.
Mazinho's comments suggested both Barca and Rafinha were happy for a transfer, but now a permanent departure looks unlikely even at the end of the season.
Rafinha should be able to return to the club in time for pre-season training. His contract at Camp Nou runs until June 2020.
Always focus on what matters— Rafinha Alcantara (@Rafinha) November 23, 2018
Work, work and work pic.twitter.com/BKtNd1k8tt