Cristiano Ronaldo says he would have been "an imbecile" if he failed to learn from the likes of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs during his early days at Manchester United.
The Portugal international made his name at Old Trafford after joining the Premier League club from Sporting CP in 2003 at the age of 18.
He scored 118 goals in six seasons with United and has since starred for Real Madrid and current side Juventus, recently netting his 700th career goal for club and country.
When asked how he developed into such a prolific forward, Ronaldo told France Football: "By using my brain. If you've got a little intelligence, you look and take example from those who are doing things better than you.
"That's what I did when I was in Manchester with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Rio Ferdinand… if you don't learn from guys like that, you're an imbecile.
"The goal isn't to imitate but to take aspects from those who are the best and adapt it to your own personality. That's what I did. I had some talent and I watched them.
"Sir Alex Ferguson also taught me a lot, and I realised I had the potential to score, not only dribble and pass. I started to think of being a complete player without any weakness.
"I could score with my right foot, my left foot and my head. I'm strong and I'm quick. If you have this and a real ethic and a good lifestyle, you can still do it at 34-and-a-half."
Ronaldo has won five Ballons d'Or and has been shortlisted for this year's award after an impressive debut campaign in Serie A with Juve.
Now into his 18th campaign at senior level, the Portuguese remains as driven as ever to remain at the top of his game.
Reflecting on Juve's 2-1 comeback win at home to Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League last week, Ronaldo said: "They refused to play and parked the bus in front of their goal.
It was hard to score. I didn't do it and I was frustrated at the end. That's normal. The most important thing is that the team wins.
"But when I went back to the dressing room, I chilled out. After the match, I went to dinner with friends. I got home at four in the morning. I had a glass of iced water before bed. I slept until 10 then I had my breakfast.
"At 11, I went to work in the gym. If you don't have that discipline every day, you can't stay at the top for 15 years."