Speaking to ESPN this week Cristiano Ronaldo said that it is the competition with star players such as Lionel Messi and Neymar that keeps him motivated to play at the highest level.

Last season Ronaldo helped Real Madrid to win La Liga and retain the Champions League, an achievement that has made him favourite to win the Ballon d’Or for a record-equalling fifth time.

In his interview he said that it was “healthy” competition with the players at Barcelona, and other top players, that makes him want to achieve more.

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However, when asked to name specific players that provide his motivation he said that it is hard to pick one. Rather he compared football to other sports such as F1 and NBA and said, “The best players always follow the best players. They want to be in the top of the game because the other ones are there. You cannot rest or sleep because the other ones will pass you.”

While he said that they “fight with everyone, with Neymar, with Messi” and so on, he also said that it isn’t really “fighting” but “it’s healthy. We fight to be the best. It’s my motivation, to be better than them, year after year.”

Despite his sporting accomplishments, Ronaldo said that his family will always remain the most important thing in his life. A lesson he said that was conveyed to him by Peter Lim, the owner of Valencia, who said, “I have millions and billions. But the most important thing is family. Keep your family healthy, good. Take care of them. You have your private life, your girlfriend, your cars, your houses, your fame, but in the beginning, your family is always with you, in good moments or bad moments.”