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Barcelona's Rafinha Will Undergo Knee Surgery, Likely Out for Season

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 24:  Rafinha of FC Barcelona in action during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Barcelona at Wanda Metropolitano on November 24, 2018 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

La Liga leaders Barcelona didn't emerge from the 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid on Saturday unscathed, as both Rafinha and Sergi Roberto picked up injuries that will keep them sidelined for the foreseeable future. The Brazilian will require surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Rafinha previously tore the ACL in his right knee in 2015 and also suffered a meniscus injury last year. According to Sport, he's unlikely to feature again this season.

Roberto picked up a hamstring injury that will see him miss three to four weeks, per the club's official website. Rafinha was his replacement Saturday.

Diego Costa and Ousmane Dembele got the goals in the 1-1 draw against the Rojiblancos.

Paul White/Associated Press

Roberto has been Barcelona's regular starter at right-back this season ahead of Nelson Semedo, who is likely to come into the starting XI.

While his absence will sting, Roberto will only be out for a matter of weeks. Rafinha's injury is a lot more serious and yet another setback for the winger at a bad time.

The 25-year-old saw an increase in minutes in late October while Lionel Messi was out with injury, but he had only featured once in November prior to Saturday's contest.

That led to complaints from his father, who told Radio Galicia Sport (h/t Goal) his son may have to look for an exit soon. Rafinha himself walked back those comments days later, committing himself to the Blaugrana, per Xavi Hernandez of Marca.

The Catalans took to Twitter to express their support for Rafinha after it became clear he'll need surgery:

FC Barcelona @FCBarcelona

💪 Keep your chin up, @rafinha. We're all by your side. 📲 Share your message of support with #ForçaRafinha https://t.co/inbMRVJKDm

Rafinha was loaned to Inter Milan last season and has never made more than 14 La Liga starts in a campaign for the Blaugrana, per WhoScored.com

Dembele and Munir El Haddadi are likely to see more minutes with the Brazilian sidelined. Rafinha also provided depth in central midfield, where Carles Alena may see a bigger role.