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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Cristiano Ronaldo: Rivalry with Lionel Messi motivates both players

Cristiano Ronaldo acknowledged that his competition with Lionel Messi helps to motivate him, and said he believes the same is true for his Barcelona rival as well.

Messi and Ronaldo not only compete with their teams for Spanish and European trophies, but also individually for the world's top honours and scoring records.

The duo have won each of the past seven Ballon d'Or awards, with Ronaldo earning his third last week. They have also finished as runners-up to each other in six of those years.

This season they also went back and forth as they moved up the Champions League all-time goals chart, with Messi eventually surpassing Raul's record of 71 a month before Ronaldo did as well.

And Ronaldo said in an interview with France Football to be published this week that their rivalry helps drive each superstar to succeed.

"I'm sure that the competition between us is a motivating factor for him too," Ronaldo said, according to AS. "It's good for me, for him and for other players who are keen to grow.

"Messi has four Ballon d'Or awards, I have three. This is all good for the world of football."

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi compete for individual honours as well as trophies.

The 29-year-old also admitted he has not been happy with the result of his famous free kicks in recent months.

"I'm currently trying to improve my left foot, my acceleration and my direct free kicks. I've not had a great deal of success recently with them," Ronaldo said.

"I know that it will come back. It's just a question of having enough humility to know that without training hard, things won't progress. Working on my game is my guide."

Ronaldo said he strives for "perfection" in all aspects to keep progressing and developing as a footballer, including managing his diet and recovery regimes.

"If I'm able to play more than 60 games per season, it's because I look after myself," Ronaldo said. "I sleep well, I eat well. In these ways I look for perfection too. If not, one can't keep this rhythm of playing up."

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