Rafinha ‘matured after injury’

Rafinha believes his long-term injury lay-off has seen him mature as a person and he’s delighted to be back available for Barcelona.

The midfielder suffered cruciate ligament damage against Roma in September but in early March was given the all-clear to return to action.

“It’s a moment of great happiness. The first month was the most difficult because you can hardly move, you’re dependent on a crutch and your leg hurts a lot but with the support of my people it went quickly,” he revealed in an interview with Barca TV, AS reports.

“It changes you as a person. Mature. I’ve always been very jokey but I’ve matured in certain aspects. When these things happen I close off and prefer to disappear, to draw my conclusions and get back to where I was before.

“My brother [Thiago Alcantara] helped me a lot from the experience he had. He and my whole family.

“The first day of training I was a little scared, for the first challenge or first impact. Watching my teammates is like a motivation to learn what you have to do to be at this level.

Rafinha’s Barca contract was renewed while he was recovering and admitted clarifying his future at Camp Nou allowed him to focus on returning to fitness.

“We had been negotiating for a while and it was peace of mind for me to renew,” he continued.

“I’ve been here many years, behaved very well and I will give my maximum to return to my footballing level.

“Luis Enrique knows me well and has confidence in me. The team can make people happy again this year.”

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