'Don't choose snooker' – O'Sullivan on advice to kids

Ronnie O’Sullivan would advise his kids not to play snooker.

The six-time world champion was talking to Rachel Casey and Alan McManus after he had beaten Michael Georgiou 4-0 in 37 minutes at the Scottish Open.

Asked by presenter Casey whether O’Sullivan thought there was enough support and opportunity for young English players to excel, the Rocket said:

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“Obviously not and I think that is down to the snooker association (World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association) to fund that and make facilities available,” said the 46-year-old.

If I had a son I would not let him play snooker so maybe there is a good thing there isn’t the opportunity for him to play snooker.

“I’d rather he played golf, football, tennis. I’d rather he played curling, I’m only joking! Personally if I had a child [that wanted to take up snooker] I would not want him to play snooker I really wouldn’t.”

When it was pointed out to him that that may surprise some. O’Sullivan responded:

“I’m an honest guy, I’m going to give you an honest opinion. I’m not going to tell you the reasons why but if I had a child or a son – which I have – I would definitely say ‘don’t choose snooker’. Maybe 20-25 years ago it was a sexy sport but it has kind of fallen behind to other sports.

“If you have a child you’d want them to get into a sport like Emma Raducanu [has], she’s doing fantastic. You look at the golfers like Rory McIlroy and the footballers, it’s just lovely sports to be in.

It’s just timing I suppose. Maybe in another 20-30 years snooker might be back on top but at the moment I’d be like ‘go and get a job mate’. Forget playing snooker. That’s my honest opinion.

O’Sullivan would then detail some of the financial impediments that can impact the lower-ranked players before adding a potential remedy.

“I’m talking about the guys that are ranked 60, 70 in the world that are struggling. It’s not good for them. If you compared the 125th golfer and what he earns and the 125th snooker player then he’d make a million dollars on the golf tour. You can afford to miss a few cuts because you can make enough money to offset the losses you might make.

“One way you could maybe remedy it is at least give the first-round losers their expenses. A lot of these guys have not got the money: they come and get beat like Michael Georgiou. He has been pumped twice now. He’s lost to me twice now 4-0, 4-0 and he has to pay his own expenses and it has cost him £300-£400. It’s unfair.

“Take it off the top. Winners don’t really need that extra money, give it to the first round losers so at least it doesn’t cost them anything. Then you can call it a job.”

O’Sullivan will face Liang Wenbo in the next round.

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Opinion: The solution to PSG's problems is clear – drop Neymar

“Back together” read the message posted by Neymar on his Instagram account after confirmation of Lionel Messi’s sensational switch to Paris Saint-Germain this summer. Of course, the pair had formed two thirds of European football’s most devastating frontline during their time together at Barcelona and so there was excitement over their reunion in the French capital.

However, Messi’s first few months as a PSG player haven’t been as exhilarating as many envisaged it would be. In fact, the 2021/22 season to date has been a bit of a slog for the French giants with Mauricio Pochettino struggling to find a system and approach that harnesses the attacking talent at the club.

Pochettino might have stumbled across a solution to his, and this team’s, problems, though. PSG played with greater balance in Tuesday’s 3-1 Champions League win over Club Brugge with Messi particularly eye-catching. There was, however, no sign of Neymar alongside the Argentine.

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Neymar is expected to miss the next eight weeks of action due to an ankle injury and while ordinarily any team would be worse off for the absence of a player of the Brazilian’s quality, this might not be the case for PSG. Indeed, there’s good reason to believe Pochettino’s side are better without Neymar.

The statistics certainly back up this view. With Neymar in the team, PSG’s win percentage stands at 64%. Without him, it’s 86%. PSG have claimed an average of 2.1 points per match when Neymar has played for them and scored 1.8 goals per match featuring the 29-year-old. Following a consistent trend, those averages rise to 2.6 points per match and 2.7 goals per match without him.

Of course, Neymar is individually one of the most productive attackers in the sport right now. He has 90 goals and 55 assists in just 130 games for PSG having been signed to be the face of the club’s efforts to dominate European football. There aren’t many who can produce a moment of magic out of nothing like Neymar can.

And yet Neymar could find himself squeezed out at the Parc des Princes. Messi’s arrival in the summer means PSG now have three luxury attackers, making their team top-heavy. With Mbappe, Messi and Neymar as the frontline, PSG frequently find themselves left light in the middle of the pitch. Pochettino’s high-pressing style certainly doesn’t work with the trio in the side.

If one of the three has to be cut from the team, Neymar is the best candidate. Messi is arguably the greatest player of all-time while Mbappe looks to be a future Ballon d’Or winner in-waiting. Messi can operate as PSG’s attacking hub, dropping deep to pick up the ball and drive it forward, while Mbappe can give them an outlet in behind with his speed.

Neymar for Paris Saint-Germain.

Image credit: Getty Images

The choice to field Mbappe and Messi as a pair without Neymar allows Pochettino to balance his team with a hard-working attacker, like Angel di Maria. This is how PSG shaped up for the Champions League win over Club Brugge and it gave them more of a footing to control possession and close down their opponents high up the pitch.

Much has been said and written about Neymar’s character and dressing room influence since he signed for PSG four years ago with many questioning his commitment to the cause. However, the growing issue with Neymar relates to his football, not his character. Moments of individual brilliance might not be enough to justify his place in the team.

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‘He is not going to take it!’ – O’Sullivan refuses to take foul points

Ronnie O’Sullivan showed remarkable sportsmanship in his Scottish Open match against Michael Georgiou.

Runs of 68, 88, 72 and 86 were enough for O’Sullivan to beat Georgiou 4-0 in 37 minutes and he plays Liang Wenbo next.

However, the match’s most remarkable moment came in frame two when Georgiou attempted to roll up to the green. Referee Jan Verhaas called a foul, but O’Sullivan immediately said that Georgiou had made contact.

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“I think it did, you know,” O’Sullivan said when Verhaas asked whether he had hit it.

Verhaas then asked to watch it back but could still not tell whether the white hit the green.

“I was watching on the TV I couldn’t tell – I don’t know where Jan was standing,” said Neal Foulds on commentary.

“Georgiou wasn’t sure but Ronnie thinks he did hit it which is sporting of him,” added Dave Hendon.

However, Verhaas would say after reviewing it, he couldn’t tell and four points were awarded to the six-time world champion. However, he refused to take them, with Hendon saying:

The foul has been put on but Ronnie’s not going to take it!

It mattered little as he went on to make an 88 to open up a two-frame advantage and then eventually win 4-0.

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'Like a holiday for me' – O'Sullivan storms past Georgiou in 37 minutes

Ronnie O’Sullivan blitzes past amateur Michael Georgiou with a 4-0 victory in 37 minutes to reach the last 32 of the Scottish Open.

O’Sullivan got off to a barnstorming start as Georgiou’s failure to pocket a blue to the green pocket allowed O’Sullivan to produce a run of 68.

In the second O’Sullivan methodically cleared balls before sealing the frame with a red to the yellow pocket. The first frame was only 16 minutes, but the second was even quicker as The Rocket wrapped up his break of 88 in six minutes.

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With the momentum fully with O’Sullivan and Georgiou only potting two single reds, the six-time world champion missed a black to left corner on 72. Georgiou remained in his seat as O’Sullivan moved to within a frame of victory.

And unsurprisingly O’Sullivan did not take long to wrap it up with an excellent shot from the side cushion to send the red to the middle before he caressed the match-ball into the left corner for 86.

O’Sullivan will face Liang Wenbo in the next round.

“I got in the balls pretty early,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport afterwards.

“I made some good breaks and got into a nice rhythm. I feel like I’m thinking clearly which is important. My game is never far away from clicking and if I get my head right and the game comes it will be interesting.

It’s like a holiday for me. I train twice a day while I’m here. A run in the morning and the gym in the afternoon. Snooker is a bit of a bonus.

“Obviously I take it seriously, but life comes first and as long as I’m enjoying myself I don’t mind putting in a few hours in the practice table and do what I have to do. Otherwise I just keep chipping away.”

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178! Robertson sets new record for points haul in a frame

There were remarkable scenes at the Scottish Open on Tuesday as Jimmy Robertson set a new record for a points haul in a snooker frame.

Quite astonishingly, Robertson managed to finish frame five with 178 points in his second-round match against Lee Walker.

The 35-year-old won the match 4-1 and produced a stunning break of 133 to close it out in real style against the beleaguered Walker.

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Robertson’s exploits eclipsed the previous record, which was the 167 racked up by Eurosport expert Dominic Dale at the Crucible back in 1999.

Poor Walker followed a solitary pot on a red from Robertson by committing an eye-watering 44 points in fouls in a nightmare passage of play.

That left Robertson with a healthy advantage even prior to his inspired break of 133 to compound Walker’s misery and close out the victory in emphatic fashion.

Interestingly, Dale’s famous effort at the World Championship in Sheffield consisted of him scoring a single point, followed by 44 in fouls and finally a break of 122.

The reaction on social media made for amusing reading unless you are Walker or members of his family.

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Luis Suarez’s night ended early after he was replaced by Matheus Cunha in the 13th-minute. It looked as if the tearful Uruguayan picked up a knock in the opening minutes.

Atletico Madrid had a great chance to take the lead in the 23rd minute. Antoine Greizmann had an empty net to aim at after a ball from Yannick Carrasco fizzed across the goal via a deflection off Thomas Lemar at the front post, but Griezmann couldn’t quite connect as he arrived in behind.

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Porto had a flurry of chances towards the end of the first period, but Jan Oblak kept the scores level as the team’s headed for the break after a string of important stops.

Atletico took the lead just before the hour mark through Griezmann. Lemar swung in a corner that met the head of Geoffrey Kondogbia, whose flick-on found Griezmann unmarked at the back post who was able to tap Atletico on the opener.

The game spiralled into chaos as a fight broke out after Carrasco was shown red for grappling his opponent by the neck and throwing him to the ground. Porto substitution Wendell was also sent off in the aftermath.

Angel Correa broke away from a struggling Porto defence and buried a second in the 90th minute to double Madrid’s lead. It was game over when Rodrigo de Paul fired in an effort from close range to make in 3-0 deep into added time.

Porto pulled a goal back in the final seconds through a Sergio Oliveira penalty, but it would only be a consolation.

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Haaland scores twice as Dortmund thrash Besiktas

Erling Haaland came off the bench to score twice and help Dortmund to a convincing victory over 10-man Besiktas as the Bundesliga giants ended their Champions League campaign on a high.

With third place in Group C and a spot in the Europa League already assured, Marco Rose’s side had little to play for other than pride and took the opportunity to name Haaland as a substitute.

However, the hosts played with intensity and their unrelenting pressure paid off in the 29th-minute when Donyell Malen scored for the fourth consecutive game to give the hosts the lead.

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Marco Reus converted from the spot to double their advantage on the stroke of half-time after Mahmoud Dahoud was fouled by Wellington, who was sent off for a last-man challenge.

And the captain grabbed his second of the night eight minutes after the restart. Creating the chance with a deft touch to drift past his marker, he finished with aplomb.

Haaland was only on the pitch a total of five minutes when he registered on the scoresheet. Nico Schulz raced to the by-line and stood up a cross for the Norwegian whose bullet header hit the back of the net.

It was a similar outcome when the 21-year-old climbed highest to meet Dahoud’s corner delivery, capping a performance and result that will set Dortmund up in good stead for the knockout play-offs of the Europa League.

Besiktas, meanwhile, end their Champions League campaign without a single point.

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