Ronnie O'Sullivan: I can be the Lionel Messi of snooker

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Defending Masters champion Ronnie O'Sullivan says he wants to be the Lionel Messi of snooker.

O'Sullivan is seeking a record seventh UK Masters title and will face Liang Wenbo in the opening round at Alexandra Palace on Sunday.

"I want to try to win playing an exciting, aggressive and attacking game," O'Sullivan told BBC Sport. "It is OK to win, but I want to win with style.

"I think I have done that over the last five or six years. I have put on some magnificent performances -- performances I am very proud of.

"Sometimes people say you can't play like that and win. Well, Michael van Gerwen has proved you can, Lionel Messi proves you can, Tiger Woods does, Roger Federer does. I want to try to be one of them."

It represents somewhat of a U-turn for the world No. 13, who last year claimed God had told him to give up snooker and concentrate on being a pundit.

O'Sullivan, though, has rediscovered his hunger for the game and another Masters crown would see him eclipse Stephen Hendry's haul of six.

"I still want to win tournaments. But, for me, it is about people coming to watch, people switching on their televisions wanting to see good entertainment," O'Sullivan added.

"It would be great to get another Masters, not because it's the seventh, but because it's the Masters. I don't think 'I've got to break the record', I just want to win another Masters. I want to win another Worlds and another Welsh and China Open. I just want to win more tournaments."

The 41-year-old has never been shy to speak his mind: last year he stated snooker was like a "car boot sale" in comparison to other sports and claimed too many players were not good enough.