Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly defied Real Madrid's orders after travelling to Morocco for a short break, despite being banned from making such trips by manager Zinedine Zidane and president Florentino Perez during competition time.
The Huffington Post claimed Ronaldo jetted off to the African setting after Zidane gave his players Monday and Tuesday off following Sunday's 6-0 win over Espanyol (h/t Sport).
The report claimed Perez and Zidane "prohibited" the player from making his frequent jaunts to Morocco after Spanish newspaper El Espanol blew the lid on his alleged partying with Moroccan kickboxer Badr Hari (h/t Sun's Jim Sheridan).
However, the three-time Ballon d'Or winner clearly felt he was in need of a break abroad after netting a hat-trick in the recent demolition of Espanyol, and BreatheSport detailed his place atop one of many scoring lists:
Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 35 hat-tricks for Real Madrid, more than any other player in history! pic.twitter.com/pH0NbIRvgW— BreatheSport (@BreatheSport) January 31, 2016
As long as the Portugal captain keeps performing as he did over the weekend, one might argue Real Madrid can ill-afford to keep their superstar caged.
Ronaldo's tally for the season now stands at 19 goals, and the Madrid marvel told broadcaster Canal Plus the team is enjoying its football under Zidane (h/t ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan):
The team are working very well. Zizou has done phenomenal work, we feel better, fitter. You can see the results on pitch, we won well. It has been a positive month. We needed it as the preseason was not very good, a lot of travelling. Zizou has a different idea of work, and it is better for the players. We must continue like this.
Ronaldo isn't the only one who's been told to cut out the trips away from Madrid during his time off, with Sport adding that Sergio Ramos has also been prevented from journeying back to his native Seville.
However, it seems Ronaldo boasts a power of his own at the Bernabeu, and it's been speculated in the past that executive influence might have played a factor in Rafa Benitez's recent sacking.
The Mail on Sunday's Rob Draper reported in January that Benitez was warned after referring to Ronaldo as only "one of the best players in the world," as opposed to "the best" outright. One Real Madrid figurehead is then said to have informed the ex-chief: "Don't forget, Ronaldo can get us all sacked."
If that proved to be a genuine account of the control the player exerts in the Spanish capital, there's no telling who it would take to tell Ronaldo where he can and cannot go during his holidays.
Boasting some of the best players in the world means also taking the risk of having to deal with some of the biggest egos in the sport, and Ronaldo's alleged violation of his ban would appear to show he sees himself as being above club law.
It's part and parcel of dealing with one of the greatest talents ever to grace the sport, but even Ronaldo will be reminded he's a member of the squad, one Perez and Zidane will want to keep in check.