Raymond van Barneveld is one of the most successful, important and popular players that professional darts has ever had.
The great Dutchman inspired and paved the way for a generation of top tier dartists from his country and across continental Europe after his maiden world title victory at the 1998 BDO World Championship.
After several major title triumphs in the British Darts Organisation system, Van Barneveld made his high-profile switch to the Professional Darts Corporation circuit in 2006. He achieved big accolades in his debut season – including winning the world championship – and was able to compete with career rival Phil Taylor on a regular basis.
‘Barney’ has been a prominent player for over three decades, and he goes into the 2022/23 PDC World Darts Championship high on confidence after a brilliant run to the semifinals of the recent Grand Slam of Darts.
When did Raymond van Barneveld retire?
Having not won a major individual title for several years, in November 2018 Van Barneveld announced that he would retire from professional darts at the end of the 2019/20 season.
His swansong year saw him selected for the 2019 Premier League, but he endured a very difficult campaign which saw him finish bottom.
On the night of his elimination on home soil in Rotterdam, Van Barneveld declared that he was retiring with immediate effect, although he reversed that decision the next day and kept to the original plan of seeing out the current season.
However, his final event at the 2019/20 PDC World Darts Championship ended in huge disappointment when he lost in the opening round to America’s Darin Young 3-1.
MORE: World Darts Championship 2022/23 draw, schedule, results, seeded players
Why did Raymond van Barneveld return?
Having relinquished his professional tour card at the end of the 2019/20 season, just several months later in September 2020 Van Barneveld announced a dramatic comeback and his intentions to enter the next Q School in order to qualify for the professional circuit.
Teaming up again with former manager Ben de Kock, Van Barneveld told RTL News: “It’s very simple. I miss it. I miss it terribly.
“I think the decision was the right one, but I have now had a lot of time to think about it. Then I realised I miss it terribly.
“I now have a unique opportunity to realise my dream and to work in a team. I think that is the solution for me.”
Competing with hundreds of amateur players, Van Barneveld got through the Q School, and in only his third Players Championship event back on the professional scene, he defeated Joe Cullen in the final to win his first ranking event since 2013.
4️⃣ DAYS TO GO!
Is this the most important bullseye of all time?! 🎯
Relive the winning moments from one of the greatest matches ever as two darting icons clash in the 2007 World Championship final!
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) December 11, 2022
Has Raymond van Barneveld won the World Darts Championship?
Raymond van Barneveld is one of the most decorated players in World Darts Championship history.
He made his world championship debut in the BDO version in 1991 at the Lakeside Country Club, Frimley Green.
Just four years later, Van Barneveld reached the final but lost to Richie Burnett 6-3 in sets. However, in 1998, the pair met again in the final and on this occasion, it was Barney who emerged from a deciding set tiebreak thriller to win 6-5 and realise his dream of becoming a world champion. He subsequently received a hero’s welcome upon his arrival at Schiphol Airport.
Van Barneveld retained the Championship 12 months later after another deciding set tiebreaker win in the final, this time against Ronnie Baxter. At the time, he was only the second player in the history of the tournament to successfully defend the title.
World title numbers three and four came in 2003 and 2005 following final victories over Ritchie Davies and Martin Adams, respectively.
A year later, Van Barneveld made the final again and was one victory away from equalling Eric Bristow’s five-title haul in the event. However, he lost to fellow Dutchman Jelle Klaasen, 7-5.
Following that defeat – after much speculation – Van Barneveld joined the PDC circuit.
During his debut year there, Van Barneveld hit a nine-dart finish during the Premier League and defeated Phil Taylor en route to winning the UK Open – his first major title within the Corporation.
At the end of the season, Van Barneveld would indeed achieve his five-world title dream as he ousted Taylor in the final of the 2006/07 PDC World Darts Championship, in what is regarded by many as the greatest darts match there has ever been.
Earlier in the competition Van Barneveld came back from 3-0 down to deny Colin Lloyd, 4-3, and was behind by that same scoreline in the best-of-13 set title match with Taylor.
Van Barneveld, though, staged a remarkable recovery, with the match going to a deciding set and a sudden death leg after the scores were tied 5-5 in set 13. With the help of a 180 in the leg, RVB later pinned double top for glory.