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Ronnie O'Sullivan is so often in the headlines for what he says that it can be easy to forget just how incredible he can be with a cue in his hand.
O'Sullivan hit the news this week for saying that today's players were 'amateurs' and that he'd have to 'lose an arm and a leg' to drop out of the top 16 in the world.
Despite rubbing some people up the wrong way there's no doubt that the five time world champion's everlasting genius, and that's best shown by the fastest ever World Championship 147 break he made in 1997.
This vid is so nuts. Ronnie O'Sullivan is basically if you combined Messi, Ronaldo, MJ and Bron into a snooker player pic.twitter.com/uqOLYcW2HJ- . (@grizeldamus) August 9, 2020
The Londoner scored the fourth maximum 147 break in the tournament's history and scored it in the fastest time ever, clocking in at 5 minutes and 20 seconds, averaging just 8.8 seconds per shot!
The break came against Mick Price in the first round of that year's tournament. The number eight seed went on to win the match 10-6 but was knocked out in the next round by ninth seed Darren Morgan, with Ken Doherty eventually going on to win the title.
Despite his obvious brilliance, even at that time, it would take O'Sullivan another four years to win his first world title as he twice lost in the semi-final before finally beating John Higgins in the final in 2001.
23 years later and O'Sullivan is still right at the top of the sport and has once again reached the quarter finals of the worlds, where he is taking on fellow multiple time world champion Mark Williams.
The 44-year-old was making a point about why he, and fellow 40+ star Williams, are still at the top of the game.
Nigel Bond, who lost to Stephen Hendry in the 1995 World Championship final, thinks that O'Sullivan's claims about today's players was harsh. "For the likes of myself and Ronnie back in the day, we learnt our trade playing in the Pro-Ams. That was in the 1980s when snooker was booming, and that scene has now gone," he told Sky Sports.
"Amateur players these days only learn once they get on the tour, and if they keep getting bad draws against top-16 players they are going to get some serious beatings.
"The Pro-Ams toughened you up. You might start at 10 o'clock in the morning and have to win six or seven matches into the early hours. I would play in Ilford one night then drive up to Boston the next. If you won anything in those tournaments you knew you'd earned it."
:speaking_head: "I'd probably have to lose an arm and a leg to fall outside the top 50."- BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 10, 2020
Ronnie O'Sullivan isn't impressed with new players coming through on the world tour.
:calling:: https://t.co/Q9lmZNuHmx #bbcsnooker pic.twitter.com/IAyNAzEmYH
Do you think that O'Sullivan is the greatest ever or is it Hendry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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