The Portugal captain has admitted for the first time that he has been motivated by the continued competition provided by the Argentine in La LigaCristiano Ronaldo says his rivalry with Lionel Messi has made him an even better player, ahead of Monday's Ballon d'Or ceremony in Zurich.
The Real Madrid forward is the favourite to be handed the game's greatest individual accolade at the gala, with Barcelona ace Messi and Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery also vying for the prize.
And the 28-year-old Portugal captain has saluted the consistency of the Argentina international while highlighting his continued quest for improvement.
He said: "I think it's important because you want to test yourself against the best and it is a privilege to play against him.
"As a competitive person, I want to improve always and I think that is good for me and for football in general."
Ronaldo failed to win a single trophy with Madrid last season, but did score 66 goals in 56 games in 2013 and the former Manchester United man admitted silverware and individual contributions are of equal importance.
"We were the best three players, and that is why we were nominated," Ronaldo explained at the pre-ceremony press conference.
"Both goals and trophies are important in deciding who wins. Even if I don't win I'll keep trying to do the best for my team."