Benitez explains Ronaldo absence

Rafael Benitez has played down Cristiano Ronaldo's absence from Real Madrid's squad at the Audi Cup.

Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez says Cristiano Ronaldo's absence from his squad for the Audi Cup is due to a back problem rather than any fallout between the pair.

Ronaldo and strike partner Karim Benzema will not feature in the pre-season competition in Munich due to back and thigh injuries respectively.

The Portugal captain's absence follows reports of disagreements between Ronaldo and Benitez in training - something the latter has been quick to deny.

However, the former Napoli boss maintains Ronaldo is simply not being risked, with Real getting their La Liga campaign underway on August 23 at Sporting Gijon. 

"He's a great professional and someone who is very competitive, he wants to win every single small game or situation," Benitez said.

"I'm really pleased to work [with] him, [I'm] sorry because he's not here, but [there's] no problems between us. I said before, he's a very competitive player so I am pleased with that.

"He had a lower back problem so we decided to leave him there."