Cristiano Ronaldo admitted today that the personal competition between himself and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi plays a role in his desire to become the best player in the history of the sport, per an article published in France Football.

During the extensive interview with the bi-weekly French magazine, the Real Madrid forward confessed that he is seeking “perfection” in every aspect of his game – whether it’s his diet, training or in recovering from games. The Portugal international says he is never satisfied and is always looking to improve the technical side of his game.

“The reason I can play more than 60 games a season is because I take care of myself,” Ronaldo told France Football. “I sleep well, I eat well. I look for perfection in those areas as well. Otherwise you can’t keep up with the pace.”

The 29-year-old was named FIFA World Player of the Year (the Ballon d’Or) for the third time in his career last week, but emphasized that his thirst for perfection hasn’t diminished following his most recent achievement.

“Currently, I’m trying to improve my left foot, my acceleration and my free kicks.”

“It’s something I’ve been less successful at recently. I know I’ll get it back. You just have to be humble enough to realize that things won’t go your way without lots of training. My work is what guides me.”

Regarding his Ballon d’Or victory, Ronaldo praised the other finalists and admitted that his rivalry with Lionel Messi has played a role in his motivation.

“To be honest, the other two nominees would also have been worthy winners.”

“Neuer has had a fantastic season. And Messi started the year with a few problems, but he had a good World Cup. All three of us were potential winners, but my victory is justified. I’ve been playing at a very high level.”

“Maybe Messi also plays a part in motivating me, the same way other players make you raise your game because you’re working at being better than them. Any kind of competition adds to my motivation.”

“I’m sure the competition we provide motivates him as well. It’s good for him, for me, and for other players who want to develop. Messi has four Ballon d’Or and I’ve got three. All of this is positive for the world of football.”