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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Brazilian trio cause problems in Bundesliga

Hamburg's Ze Roberto and Hoffenheim's Carlos Eduardo have followed the example of Schalke's Rafinha by delaying their returns from South America and infuriating their Bundesliga clubs.

Schalke puzzled by Rafinha absence

Brazilian winger Ze Roberto failed to board his flight from Sao Paolo to join his team at their winter training camp in Turkey yesterday. Carlos Eduardo did head back to Germany, but not on the flight he was originally scheduled to take.

Both have upset their clubs, just as Rafinha did when he returned from his Christmas holidays over a day late.

"That is unfortunately the only negative thing to report," Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia said. "We have received information that Ze is not, as we had agreed, coming.

"That is obviously not on. Like I said, there was a clear agreement with him and now he will be fined."

Hoffenheim's assistant coach Peter Zeidler will talk to Carlos Eduardo before deciding what action to take after he arrived seven hours later than scheduled yesterday.

And Schalke have still to hear a word from another South American, who appears to have been put off by the news that the whole of Germany is covered in a thick layer of snow.

Schalke's own Ze Roberto, not to be confused with the Hamburg player of the same name, has also failed to return to the Bundesliga club after his loan spell with Flamengo ended at the turn of the year, and the Gelsenkirchen outfit are now launching legal proceedings against the midfielder.

"Our legal department will deal with this case," Schalke coach Felix Magath said. "We have also got to wait and hear what the player has to say."

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