'He's not good for the game' - Hossein Vafaei urges 'disrespectful' GOAT Ronnie O'Sullivan to retire
Hossein Vafaei launched an astonishing tirade against snooker GOAT Ronnie O'Sullivan after he became the first Iranian player to qualify for the World Championship with a 10-9 win over Lei Peifan on the final black of the final qualifier on Wednesday. Vafaei accused of O'Sullivan of being "disrespectful" and urged him to retire after calling people "numpties" on Eurosport's digital channels.
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Hossein Vafaei became the first Iranian player to qualify for the World Championship, but opted to use the platform to slam six-time winner Ronnie O'Sullivan for being "disrespectful" to snooker and urged the Rocket to "retire" after his tongue-in-cheek "numpties" rant on Eurosport's digital channels.
World No. 18 Vafaei completed a 10-9 win over Lei Peifan on the final black of the final qualifier at the English Institute of Sport on Wednesday to secure his spot in the draw for the last 32 for the sport's blue-chip event.
The Shoot Out winner could land O'Sullivan in a potential grudge match in the first round with the top 16 seeds and 16 qualifiers discovering their opening opponents for the 46th World Championship at 11:00 BST on Thursday (LIVE on Eurosport).
"I was and am still good friends with him, but I don’t like that. Maybe he likes it and gives him a good feeling, but I think people should treat him like that as well. I treat him like he deserves."
Vafaei has also accused the record 38-time ranking event winner O'Sullivan of attracting negative publicity for the sport by telling Eurosport he would not encourage his children to take up the sport during the Scottish Open before Christmas.
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"That was very bad words, very bad for our sport. Listen, he doesn’t need to remind us he’s won 20 major tournaments. I think someone who is beside him should remind him that he is Ronnie O’Sullivan," he continued.
"To be honest, Ronnie O’Sullivan without his team, without the people who are around him, he wouldn’t be here at all. He wouldn’t be here at all.
"He’s comparing himself with someone else. He’s comparing me with someone else. I don’t like that. We don’t have to compare ourselves to others.
"He’s saying you are poor, I am rich, I am Ronnie O’Sullivan. I don’t like that. I have money, my people in Iran have money, but we have to respect human beings as well.
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"I don’t want to get involved in that kind of conversation really. I like him a lot, I am his fan, I love what he does but sometimes he’s disrespectful, he’s not good for the game."
Vafaei has also told reporters he feel the World No. 1's conduct has not done enough to help attract bigger sponsors to the green baize.
"I think he should retire, to be honest with you. He should retire and then the younger generation make the game bigger," he said.
"I don’t see any improvement, he’s been 20 years on top of this sport and what has he done for us? This is my biggest question: What has he done for us?" said Vafaei, who compiled breaks of 52, 50, 81, 64 and a 141 in a 5-0 win over O'Sullivan in the first round of German Masters qualifying in only 54 minutes in October.
"I am the younger generation, I want to see what he’s done for our sport. Where are the big companies?
"In my opinion he should have his own private jet, but he’s coming and complaining about 10 or 15 grand.
"You’ve been in the situation to make the game bigger, why haven’t you done it? How many contacts you’ve had to bring car companies or Rolex to our sport to make the game bigger?"
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The 27-year-old Vafaei insists he will use his platform to promote the sport for future generations and added: "Absolutely. If I get to that position, if I can help any players I will help. I’m not a selfish person.
"There is plenty of food. If you get food I have food as well. If you get money, I get money as well. We should think like that.
"He has to go and think why he doesn’t have the private jet or bigger house like a footballer. Now he’s still playing for 70 grand or 50 grand, or he’ll say he won’t play in things. He wants to make our sport small, okay, it’s time to tell him: ‘Retire, man. Retire'."
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