MotoGP great Valentino Rossi has admitted he admires Michael Schumacher's sporting longevity.

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi

Photo by: Ducati Corse

Seven time world champion Schumacher retired from formula one at the end of 2006 but returned three seasons later with Mercedes, where in 2012 he will attempt to add a first podium to the dazzling tally of his initial career.

"I think it's great to see (what) Schumacher (is doing)," Italian Rossi, who turns 33 next month, said.

"He is ten years older than me but still in great shape and full of energy. At 43, I want to be like him," he told Italy's Sky Sport 24.

Rossi, who like Schumacher has also won seven premier world championships, said he and the German veteran have even more in common.

"I'm an Italian racing for an Italian team, Schumacher is a German with Mercedes. And we have the same chances in the championship," he smiled.

His current contract with Ducati expires at the end of 2012.

"I would like a new two year contract, which could be the last," Rossi is quoted as saying. "Then I'll think about how to have fun."