'My greatest result' – Ronnie O'Sullivan hailed as snooker GOAT after landing seventh Crucible title

Ronnie O'Sullivan roared to a scintillating seventh World Championship title and was instantly acclaimed snooker's greatest of all time.

The serial record breaker has become the tournament's oldest ever winner, with the 46-year-old beating Judd Trump 18-13 in the two-day final.

From his first triumph in 2001, through to the historic seventh that moves him alongside Stephen Hendry, O'Sullivan has pushed the sport to new heights.

He has long since passed Hendry on the list of ranking event titles, and now has an unsurpassed seven each at the Masters, World Championship and UK Championship. This has been his 30th tilt at the World Championship, having made his debut as a 17-year-old in 1993.

O'Sullivan built a 12-5 lead over a subdued Trump on Sunday, with that surge marred by an altercation with Belgian referee Olivier Marteel, who formally warned the veteran over an alleged gesture. In response, a rankled O'Sullivan denied any misbehaviour and snapped back at Marteel: "You saw nothing. Don't start."

He later claimed in an interview with Eurosport, who employ him as a pundit, that Marteel appeared to be "looking for trouble".

Followed around by a film crew putting together a Netflix-style documentary on his life, the mercurial O’Sullivan has given the cameras plenty to feast on, and he withstood a Trump fightback on Monday to reign again on snooker's most famous stage.

He had arrived in Sheffield level on six titles with Steve Davis and one behind Hendry, but O'Sullivan has swept past David Gilbert, Mark Allen, Stephen Maguire and John Higgins and now seen off Trump during the 17-day tournament.

Cliff Thorburn, Canada's 1980 world champion, says maverick O'Sullivan's record-equalling Crucible crown ends all debate about who deserves to be recognised as number one for the ages.

"I think so, absolutely," Thorburn told Stats Perform. "There's no doubt in anyone's mind. Davis and Hendry did almost all of their stuff in a 10-year stint and that's it. Ronnie's done his in 30 years. He's only won seven, but with Davis and Hendry they basically stopped winning. It just stopped. But Ronnie's shown up all the time, and he's dug as deep as anyone at this tournament."

O'Sullivan, who earns £500,000 for his victory, shared an intense hug with Trump after crossing the winning line, and said: "That's probably the greatest result I've ever had. I've never bothered about records. You let the snooker gods decide what they're going to decide and this 17 days, they were on my side."

Trump said: "It's an amazing achievement and he'll go down as the best player of all time. It wouldn't surprise me if he beats the record and gets to eight. He seems to still want it more than anyone else. I think he'll definitely get one more. If he gets another one next year he might be able to get to 10."

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan

Rocket Ronnie's latest records

7 - World Championship titles, level with Stephen Hendry.

74 - Match victories at the Crucible.

21 - 'Triple Crown' titles (7 x World Championship, 7 x Masters, 7 x UK Championship).

21 - Years between first and most recent Crucible titles.

46 years, four months, 27 days - Oldest world champion, beating Ray Reardon's 1978 win as a 45-year-old.

39 - Ranking event titles.