The 'California King Bed' star praised the 52-year-old singer for being able to continually reinvent herself successfully after three decades in the industry.
When asked about her inspirations, Rihanna told We Love Pop: "I think that Madonna was a great inspiration for me, especially on my earlier work."
She added: "If I had to examine her evolution through time, I think she reinvented her clothing style and music with success every single time.
"And at the same time remained a real force in entertainment in the whole world."
Speaking about her own experience with image changes, the 23-year-old said: "I'm over my Rated R period, even though it was very successful for me.
"It was tough because I was forced to maintain a certain image for so long and now I just want to get out of that.
"I want to have more fun with my music, my image and be more experimental. So, with Loud, I got a bit more rebellious and did whatever I wanted to do. I reinvented my image and took creative control."
Rihanna recently became more popular than Lady GaGa on Facebook. She also insisted that she could never dress like the 'Born This Way' star.
Watch the music video for Rihanna's recent single 'California King Bed' below: