Raymond van Barneveld is an icon in the Netherlands. What Boris Becker is for Germany in tennis, RvB is for the Netherlands in darts. In this blog post we would like to pay homage to the darts legend from Holland and take a closer look at his career. In addition, a look into the future is worthwhile. Because recently Raymond van Barneveld announced that he wants to attack again. The myDartpfeil-biography about Raymond van Barneveld also gives information about what the 53 year old today means in his home country. It shows that darts is much more than just one sport among many.
Raymond van Barneveld is with Phil Taylor probably the darts legend of modern times. Barney was born on April 20, 1967 in The Hague. His successes began in the mid-90s. For the first time Raymond van Barneveld managed to reach the final of a world championship in 1995. RvB was during this time the undisputed number one of the BDO. But the reason for this was also that Phil Taylor was active in the PDC, the rival association of the BDO.
Raymond van Barneveld is a sensitive person and darts player, this is shown again and again by the way he plays darts. Despite his insane successes, he didn't always manage to turn off his head, to be able to block out everything around him. Nevertheless, it was precisely this humanity that distinguished van Barneveld over all the years - especially in moments of defeat, when he proved greatness.
His successes with the BDO are of course undisputed till today. In the BDO Raymond van Barneveld won four World Championship titles in 1998, 1999, 2003 and 2005. One year later he decided to change to the PDC - also for financial reasons. Here it then came to a duel which had built up over the years. Because the BDO, with Raymond van Barneveld, and the PDC, with Phil Taylor, both said they had the best darts player in their association.
After the change of van Barneveld to the PDC there was now the opportunity to clarify this question once and for all. And so it came as it had to come.
After his change to the PDC it came at the Darts World Championship 2007 to the long awaited final between the two legends par excellence. In what is probably the best darts match in history Raymond van Barneveld beat record world champion Phil Taylor in a sudden death leg. Everyone who saw this match live and in color in front of the screen will still like to think back to a unique thriller.
But the success was not enough, because after the World Cup RvB was welcomed at the airport in his home country by thousands of fans. It can be said without a doubt that Raymond van Barneveld has shaped the sport of darts in the Netherlands into a national sport. This is also confirmed by statements from the current world number one. For example, countryman van Gerwen said that the upswing of the many young players in Holland is mainly due to the fact that van Barneveld brought them to it in the first place.
Remarkable in RvB's career: Before he won his first World Championship title, he was still working as a letter carrier. So at that time his whole life changed with one blow: with the highlight to defeat Phil Taylor in a World Championship final.
During this time Raymond van Barneveld was without doubt in the best phase of his career as also his first 9-darter in front of running cameras fell after the change to the PDC in 2006.
In 2020, the Dutchman's great career came to an end for the time being. It had been clear all year that his career would probably come to an end after the 2020 World Cup. The pressure on his shoulders was apparently too great. Because after a weak year van Barneveld lost his first round match and ended his career without any glamour. But who knows the Dutchman, knows that his ambition is not stopped. So it came as it had to come. A short time ago van Barneveld announced that he would like to take part in the Q-School 2021 once again to secure his Tour Card. It came out of nowhere at that point.
Apparently van Barneveld just couldn't stand to end his great career with such a poor performance. So he tries again and wants to show the world that he still belongs to the best players in the world. The road to get there is long for RvB. Moreover, it is questionable whether he will be able to deliver the performances he expects of himself. But it's certainly worth a try. After all, even in old age you don't forget how to throw darts.
Raymond van Barneveld was not only a great darts player. No, he was also a real crowd favorite. It's not for nothing that Raymond van Barneveld darts are well kept in every collector's display case. And now Barney returns. And this also means that there will be new comeback darts again. So a new piece of darts history.
Also the fans paid homage to the darts legend accordingly. So the so called Barney Army, the fans of RvB, was like a second opponent for van Barneveld's opponents. Loud cheers for Barney, which hardly existed in this form with any other player, characterized the Barney Army. Especially at his home matches in the Netherlands the national hero was celebrated like a pop star.
In the end it doesn't matter what happens or doesn't happen with the comeback. The important thing is that van Barneveld feels good. Better than when he left, then he will also be able to live with defeats. After all, five world titles mean pressure and honor at the same time.
Not everyone can go out with an appearance in a World Championship final - like Phil Taylor, for example. But that doesn't mean that van Barneveld's career ending is worth less. Every person deals with such things differently. Van Barneveld has decided to make a comeback. And we wish him all the best in this endeavor.