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Schalke puzzled by Rafinha's unexplained absence

Schalke returned to training this morning without Brazilian defender Rafinha, who had provided no excuse for not reporting back from the Christmas holidays on time.

The 24-year-old was nowhere to be seen as his team-mates began training in Gelsenkirchen, leaving manager Felix Magath perplexed.

"I have no idea where he is hiding,'' Magath told spox.com. "I will first have to find out what has happened.''

It is not the first time Rafinha has upset the Royal Blues. He defied club orders to appear for his nation at the 2008 Olympic Games and was ordered to pay a fine when he returned to the club after having missed the first few games of the season.

Earlier this year, he was sent home to Brazil by Magath after speculation intensified linking him with a transfer to Bayern Munich.

Marcelo Bordon and Jefferson Farfan were also absent from training today, although they had permission to extend their Christmas break.

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