Former snooker star John Virgo believes Ronnie O’Sullivan is the best sportsman in British history – but insisted the Rocket has underachieved in his career.
O’Sullivan has won more ranking titles than any other player, winning 37 in total with six World Championship titles and seven UK Championship wins.
The world number three will look to further secure his status as the greatest snooker player for the foreseeable future as he continues to impress at 45 years of age.
Despite his impressive resume, Virgo said while O’Sullivan is undoubtedly the best he has seen, the Englishman should have won more titles for his remarkable talent.
“Let me make one thing clear, Ronnie O’Sullivan is the greatest player I’ve ever seen,” Virgo told the Talking Snooker podcast. “I find it absolutely amazing.
“The fact he can do it with either hand just adds to the mystery of how a man can play the game this well. Ronnie’s the best I’ve ever seen, it’s just incredible.
“I think if he’d maybe been a bit more level in his mind he’d have got up to maybe 10 world titles, I’m convinced of that.”
O’Sullivan is a household name with plenty of support at home and abroad, yet Virgo still encouraged fans to enjoy his greatness before he retires.
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Virgo, the 1979 UK champion, believes the snooker GOAT is Britain’s finest sportsman and should be honoured as such as his career draws to a close.
“With Ronnie, like with Alex [Higgins], when Alex was going downhill slightly you’ll not appreciate these people till they’re gone,” he continued.
“Ronnie’s not going to last forever. He’s the best sportsman Britain has produced…when have we produced a better one? A more talented genius?
“We should enjoy this time he’s given us and this quality he’s given us. We should enjoy these talents.”
When quizzed over whether the Rocket has underachieved across his career despite being the most successful snooker player ever, Virgo agreed with the sentiment: “You’d have to say that.
“I do a lot of exhibitions with him, while he’s playing I commentate and I’m just gobsmacked by what he does on a snooker table, it is frightening.
“And Ronnie O’Sullivan is a lovely lad, make no mistake about that, he’s a lovely lad. Enjoy him while we’ve got him.”
Virgo believes the 2020 World Championship semi-finals was the best day in the iconic Crucible’s history, as O’Sullivan dramatically won the final three frames to nick a 17-16 win over his rival Mark Selby.
Selby labelled O’Sullivan disrespectful – but Virgo disagrees.
“Those last frames from Ronnie just shows why I say he’s the best player I’ve ever seen,” Virgo said.
“So shell-shocked was Mark Selby that he said he was being rude to him, because he couldn’t believe what had happened and neither could I.”
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