Currently training with France's athletics team in South Africa, the French record holder at 100m and 200m is working tirelessly ahead of this year's upcoming challenges. Above all, he hopes to in prime shape by the time he jets off to Beijing for the World Championships in August.
With Monday's FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala almost upon us, the lightning-fast sprinter agreed to take a well-earned breather and speak to FIFA.com about his passion for football.
Christophe Lemaître: For me, it's Neuer. It would be good for him to receive the Ballon d'Or after the season he had and winning the world title with Germany. I'd also like to see a goalkeeper get the award because it's a position that doesn't get a lot of recognition and could do with more promotion. We all know that [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo are the best players in the world at the moment. They've both won several Ballon d'Ors and they don't need another one to prove it. It would be good to have a change for once so that it's not always the same people. What impresses me about Neuer is how he comes off his line in a way that looks a little suicidal but works every time. He often ventures outside his area, and he's not far from being a 'flying goalkeeper', an 11th outfield player.
Which is your choice for goal of the year from among the three finalists?
I'm a little torn. [Robin] van Persie's diving header blew me away when I saw it on TV, but I'd really like to see Stephanie Roche win the award. It would make another nice change, because it'd be good for woman to win such a prestigious trophy and bring a little more equity to the sport, and also because her goal was really fantastic.
Who would you like to see named coach of the year for 2014?
I'm torn between Carlo Ancelotti and Joachim Low. Both of them had a good season, but I'm leaning more towards Joachim Low as he led Germany to victory in the most important competition.
Did you follow the FIFA World Cup™ closely?
Of course, that's pretty much all I did (laughs)! What struck me the most was Brazil's loss to Germany. It was incredible and totally unexpected. Before that, I was moved by the Brazilian national anthem being sung a capella by the whole crowd ahead of each of their games. That's what sent the most shivers down my spine.
Do you have a favourite club?
For me, Marseille are number one. Other than them, I like Arsenal and Chelsea in England, while in Italy it's Juventus, who were the first team I started following during the great era of [Alessandro] Del Piero. I also like Bayern a lot. My support for OM started when I was at high school. My friends were fans and they infected me with their passion. Bit by bit, and match by match, I began to feel an attachment to the club's identity and its players, like Franck Ribery, Lorik Cana and Djibril Cisse, who I already liked a lot before he signed for OM.
Djibril Cisse took part in athletics in his youth. Were you drawn to his speed and running technique?
I wasn't involved in athletics at the time so I only made the connection later on, but it's true that I liked that side to his game a lot. He stood out because of his speed on the wing and he could make the difference thanks to his ability to accelerate. He would have made a great athlete as well. These days, I'm pretty impressed by the bursts of speed that players like Gareth Bale or Cristiano Ronaldo are capable of over 20 or 30 metres. You have to say they have great sprinting ability, even if, technically, that's not the first thing I look for when I watch a game of football. And it's much harder to do that when you have a ball at your feet (laughs).
How would you describe your own football skills?
Yikes… (laughs). I much prefer to run without the ball, even though I did play football for a year. I chose to give it up because I'm too much of an individualist. When I had the ball, I ran very straight, very quickly. The rest of the time, I called for the ball and waited for people to pass to me, and that was it. Nowadays, I don't really have the time to play, especially as there's always that fear you'll pick up a stupid injury.
As someone who is fairly timid and reserved, do you think your personality was a major factor in your choice of sport?
Yes, undoubtedly. In an individual sport, you don't have to express yourself and communicate what you're feeling all the time to your team-mates on the pitch. The fact that I have to prepare for races by myself in my own little corner suits me very well. There's no need to speak because our results speak for us.
There was a lot of talk a couple of years ago about Usain Bolt's passion for Manchester United and the possibility that he might even play for them. What did you make of that?
For an exhibition game, why not, but I'd be amazed if he joined the team. When you think about what he can still bring to athletics, it would be a bit pointless. For me, Usain Bolt remains the best. Even though we haven't seen much of him this year, he's the reigning world and Olympic champion. I'm looking forward to seeing him come up against Justin Gatlin, who has been very good this year.
How is 2015 shaping up for you?
I'm preparing at the moment for the world relay championships in the Bahamas and the European team championships. After that, of course there's the World Championships in Beijing in August, where I'll try to start making progress again and get back to the level I was at in 2011. Things are going very well in training and I'm feeling much stronger than I did at the same stage last year. We've carried out tests that show I'm in better form now than I was last summer, which is quite unusual for the winter. That's a very good sign and I'll do what I can to ensure it continues.