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What next for Ronnie?

RONNIE O'Sullivan claims he will retire rather than defend his world title next year. The 37-year-old returned from a short spell out of the game to win his fifth World Championship, beating Barry Hawkins 18-12 last night in the final in Sheffield. But barring a change of heart it will be his last competitive game at the Crucible. Here, we look at where O'Sullivan's future may lie.


Stephen Hendry retired after losing to Stephen Maguire at the Crucible last year to take up a lucrative contract promoting pool in China. The problem for O'Sullivan would be in the travelling, as he has been reluctant to spend long spells away from home.


Former world champions Steve Davis, John Parrott, Hendry and Ken Doherty are staple figures of BBC coverage of snooker, all well rewarded for their work. Should O'Sullivan go into broadcasting, it would mean him staying in close contact with the people on the tour he says he missed badly during his time on hiatus.


O'Sullivan insisted in Sheffield that his goal is not to be famous. "I don't want to be a celebrity," he said. "I don't want to be on the telly, I don't want to do any of that sort of stuff. I don't want to be a billionaire, I don't want to rule the world. I want to have a purpose in life and there are other things out there I'd like to do and I'm excited by it." What could that mean? Well, O'Sullivan fancies the quiet life, and said: "I have been watching these property programmes where they buy a house, put a kitchen in – it sounds a bit easier than playing snooker."


Even if the purpose of his comeback was to earn the fast money he needed to pay off school fees, O'Sullivan has enjoyed proving again there is nobody to touch him in the modern game. He still loves snooker, by his own admission, but needs to find a happy medium. Even if O'Sullivan were to play only the UK Championship, Masters and World Championship next season, he would be an asset to the sport, and cream off handsome rewards in prize-money and sponsorship. It is entirely realistic to believe he could match or better Hendry's record of seven world titles as a part-time pro.