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Ronaldo's Ballon d'Or hopes hit by injury

ESPN staff
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Cristiano Ronaldo may not return until mid-December © Getty Images
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Cristiano Ronaldo's Ballon d'Or hopes have taken a potential hit with the forward set for three weeks on the sidelines after Real Madrid confirmed that he picked up a thigh injury during Saturday's 5-0 La Liga win at Almeria.

Ronaldo opened the scoring early on with his 17th goal in 14 Primera Division games this season, but then set alarm bells ringing by stepping from the pitch early in the second half at the Estadio Juegos Mediterraneos, immediately asking to be substituted.

Both Ronaldo and Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti played down the initial fears after the Almeria game, but a club statement released on Monday morning said an injury had been detected which would keep him out for an undisclosed amount of time.

"After X-ray tests carried out today on our player Cristiano Ronaldo by Real Madrid's medical services, an injury in his left thigh was detected," the statement read. "[His return to action] depends on the evolution of the injury."

This fitted with Spanish media reports that had said Ronaldo will definitely miss Wednesday's Champions League group game against Galatasaray at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, and could have a longer spell on the sidelines to recover from various knocks picked up in recent weeks.

These include a toe injury suffered at Juventus in the Champions League which has restricted his training with both Madrid and Portugal during the last fortnight.

He is suspended for Madrid's Copa del Rey last-32 first leg at third-tier side Olimpic de Xativa on December 7 due to his sending off in last season's final defeat to Atletico Madrid, so may not return until the tricky Primera Division fixture at Osasuna on December 14.

This would mean he does not play again until after the extended Ballon d'Or voting period has ended and the three-man shortlist for the award has been announced.

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