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When football players go 'AWOL'

  • Story Highlights
  • Egyptian striker Amir Zaki was AWOL after failing to return to Wigan
  • Wigan manager Steve Bruce described Zaki as "unprofessional"
  • Adriano went AWOL for two weeks and later said he was taking a break from football
  • How do you think AWOL players should be punished by their clubs?
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By Mike Steere
For CNN
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- After a week when he could not be traced, Egyptian striker Amir Zaki is back at his Premier League club side Wigan Athletic in northern England.

Wigan and Egypt striker Amir Zaki has mended relations with his club manager.

Wigan and Egypt striker Amir Zaki has mended relations with his club manager.

According to Wigan manager Steve Bruce the two have patched up their differences after he launched a verbal tirade against the 26-year-old striker.

Zaki told Al-Hayat TV that the pair "ended up laughing" about his absence -- when he failed to return from international duty and had a hamstring strain which no one knew the seriousness of.

But, it wasn't all laughs a week ago.

On Wigan's club Web site, Bruce had said of Zaki: "I just feel it's time that we went public on just what a nightmare he has been to deal with. I can honestly say that in all my time in football I have never worked with someone as unprofessional.

"I have already fined him the maximum allowed but this just seems to have no effect," Bruce said.

After giving Zaki a fine for his misdemeanor the Wigan manager also revealed it was the fourth time he had gone AWOL after international duty.

Are players selling their fans and clubs short when they go AWOL? How do you think should they be punished by clubs?

Zaki's case certainly isn't the first high profile instance of a player going missing.

Inter Milan striker Adriano sparked kidnap fears after failing to return earlier this month, following a World Cup qualifier in South America. It was not the first time the Brazilian had failed to report back to his club following international duty.

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After a two-week absence, Adriano later announced he was taking a break from professional football at a news conference in Brazil.

He told reporters: "I've lost the happiness of playing. I wouldn't like to go back to Italy, I want to live in peace here in Brazil.

"I don't know if I'm going to stay for one, two or three months without playing. I'm going to rethink my career."

Other notable cases include Nigerian forward Ayegbeni Yakubu, who failed to return to club duty at Premier League side Everton after the African Cup of Nations last year.

When he returned to Everton,Yakubu was hit with a maximum £80,000 fine. Manager David Moyes said at a news conference at the time: 'Yakubu's back in it now. That episode has ended. He let us down by not coming back. But it's over and we've moved on."

German club Schalke fined defender Rafinha a record $1million for making an unauthorized trip to the Beijing Olympic Games and spending a total of 35 days away.

One of the most bizarre examples was that of Moroccan defender Youssef Rossi, who surprised everyone when he returned to training at Dunfermline Athletic a year after having his wages stopped by the Scottish club.

Rossi had previously gone AWOL from the club and returned to training with Raja Casablanca back in his homeland.

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