CRISTIANO RONALDO reportedly missed Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Malaga because of Barcelona forward Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo was left out of Real Madrid’s squad as they battled their way past Malaga in La Liga.
The 33-year-old, who scored the decisive goal against Juventus in midweek, watched on as Isco and Casemiro struck for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
Many were surprised at Cristiano Ronaldo missing the match with the Portugal international having scored a stunning 26 goals from 16 outings in 2018 so far.
Yet Spanish outlet Don Balon say the Real Madrid forward chose to skip the game.
At the age of 33, you would expect Ronaldo’s powers to be waning.
However, that is not the case with the Portugal star in devastating form so far this calendar year.
Real’s season, as a whole, has been disappointing.
But Ronaldo could yet sure them to a third consecutive Champions League title.
Don Balon say the former Manchester United star wanted to miss the game to preserve himself ahead of their European semi-final matches with Bayern Munich.
And that is because he knows Champions League glory will give him the best chance of beating Barcelona’s Messi to the Ballon d’Or award.
Ronaldo and Messi have both won that accolade five times.
Yet with Barcelona out of the Champions League, Messi may struggle to scoop the prize.
Ronaldo is said to have doubts about Portugal winning the World Cup.
So he wants to win the Champions League again to ensure he pips Messi to football’s ultimate individual accolade.