Barcelona’s Rafinha to have surgery on injured knee

His brother Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara suffered a similar injury last year

 Rafinha of FC Barcelona damaged his anterior cruciate ligament playing against Roma. Photograph: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Rafinha of FC Barcelona damaged his anterior cruciate ligament playing against Roma. Photograph: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

 

Barcelona midfielder Rafinha will undergo surgery after damaging the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Wednesday’s 1-1 Champions League Group E draw at AS Roma.

The Brazil international had only been on the pitch for a few minutes when he was injured by a robust tackle from behind by Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan.

Barca said on their website (www.fcbarcelona.es) on Thursday Rafinha, the younger brother of Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, would have the operation in the next few days.

They did not say how long he might be sidelined but Spanish media reported he would miss the rest of the season.

Thiago, who plays for Spain and like Rafinha is a graduate of Barca’s academy, needed two operations on a similar injury he sustained in March last year and missed the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

Rafinha is not an automatic starter for Barca coach Luis Enrique but has been on good form in recent weeks and will be a significant loss for the Spanish and European champions.

Their next outing is a La Liga game at home to Levante on Sunday and they host Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League at the end of the month.

Rafinha and Thiago are the sons of former Brazil midfielder Mazinho, who played in the 1994 World Cup-winning side.

Meanwhile Real Madrid have confirmed Gareth Bale has muscle damage in his left calf but have put no timescale on the forward’s return.

Wales star Bale came off in the first half of Real’s 4-0 Champions League victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday and had a scan in Madrid on Thursday morning.

“Following the tests carried out on Gareth Bale today in the Sanitas La Moraleja University Hospital, the player has been diagnosed with a soleus muscle injury in his left leg,” a statement on the official Real Madrid website read on Thursday.

“His condition will be evaluated.”

Wales are sweating on Bale’s fitness as they need one point from their final October Euro 2016 double-header to end a 58-year wait to play at a major tournament.

Chris Coleman’s side need a draw against either Bosnia-Herzegovina on October 10th or Andorra three days later to qualify for next summer’s European Championship in France.

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