Barcelona have confirmed injuries sustained by both Rafinha and Sergi Roberto, the former rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, while the latter will be out for three to four weeks with a leg injury.
Roberto, who started Saturday’s crunch clash with Atletico Madrid – a match which ended 1-1 – dropped to the ground moments before half time, clutching his leg and was replaced for the second half.
The Blaugrana have since confirmed that the 26-year-old has ruptured his semimembranosus, one of the three muscles that make up the hamstring.
With the versatile Spain international facing up to a month on the sidelines, he could miss as many as seven matches, including Champions League fixtures against PSV and Tottenham.
Coincidentally, Rafinha was the man who replaced Roberto at the Wanda Metropolitano after the break. And despite finishing the match, the Spanish champions will be without the Brazilian for a fair bit longer, with surgery required to repair the ACL.
Anterior cruciate ligament injuries tend to take anywhere between six to nine months to fully heal.
Rafinha will undoubtedly be devastated by the news given he had recently ably deputised for Lionel Messi in the Argentine’s injury-enforced absence after fracturing his arm. His performances had led to many calling for more playing time for the 25-year-old, including his famous father, Mazinho, who recently took aim at Ernesto Valverde.
“It’s crazy,” the Brazil legend said of the Barca coach’s failure to field his son with more regularity.
“The truth is that we’re trying to get Rafa into a situation where he plays regularly. We have to look for an exit.
“He needs a club to give him 30 or 40 games a season. It’s been basically two years with hardly any game time.”
Given the length of his injury lay-off, Rafinha may have to wait some time before he racks up serious minutes on the pitch.
Barcelona are next in action against PSV, when the Catalan side travel to Eindhoven on November 28 looking to maintain their dominance of Champions League Group B.