‘Ashamed’ Raymond van Barneveld retires from darts with immediate effect

The five-times world champion Raymond van Barneveld has announced his immediate retirement from the sport after playing the final Premier League game of his career.

The Dutchman had already been eliminated in Rotterdam before he took to the stage on Thursday but a 7-1 defeat to compatriot Michael van Gerwen convinced him to bring forward his plan to quit at the end of the year.

“Yesterday I don’t know where it came from, I played really bad, I lost 7-1 so today I knew I was relegated and I felt ashamed,” he told Sky Sports.

“Five-time world champion and I was thinking ‘Do I deserve this? I don’t think so’ but it is reality. I’m not good enough.

“For me I’ve made a decision I am done now. I don’t want the pain any more. It’s pain every single week for the last three or four years. I’m OK with this decision. I’m relieved. I’m done.”

Four BDO world titles

After joining the BDO in 1987 at the age of 20,  Van Barneveld made his first world final appearance in 1995, losing to Richie Burnett. Three years later, he beat Burnett 6-5 in a classic final to become the first Dutch champion.

‘Barney’ defended his title in 1999 against Ronnie Baxter, the first player to do so since Eric Bristow in 1986. The Dutchman won again at Lakeside in 2003 and 2004, but lost the 2006 final to Jelle Klaasen before moving to the rival PDC circuit.

Conquering Taylor in epic PDC final

After struggling at first on the PDC circuit, Van Barneveld changed his darts and made it to the world final in 2007, where Phil Taylor was chasing his 11th title in 12 years. ‘The Power’ raced to a 3-0 lead but his opponent rallied to win an all-time classic 7-6 [pictured].

Nine-darter at the Ally Pally

Van Barneveld continued to pick up trophies and held the PDC’s world No1 spot in 2007, but the crowd favourite may be best remembered for the first nine-darter at the PDC worlds, against Klaasen in 2009. Van Barneveld went all the way to the final, but Taylor took his revenge with a 7-1 win.

A late renaissance

Van Barneveld never reached another world final and began to slip down the world rankings in 2011 – but he saved some of his best darts for later in his career.

Barney reached the world semi-finals in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, and won the Premier League title at the O2 Arena in 2014. He also recorded his highest televised average just last year.

Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images Europe

The 51-year-old signed off his 210th and last appearance in the competition in some style with his last two trips to the oche seeing him throw 180 and 140.

But there was little mercy from van Gerwen, leader of the PDC Order of Merit, and it confirmed what van Barneveld already knew. “I don’t have the energy to start from scratch again,” he added.

“I can say to myself ‘OK Ray, take some time off’, but there is no time because at the end of the year is the world championship. It is good to see everyone loves you but they don’t have one single clue what I’m going through.”


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