PDC Darts: Raymond van Barneveld bows out after World Championship defeat | Darts News

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Barney's appeal goes beyond his homeland but the Netherlands is a nation in thrall to their hero, their champion, their Barney.

Perhaps more than on the oche, Barney's resonance is around the global game and the sport as a whole. 'He changed the face of professional darts,' said John Part of his one-time rival.

The Sky Sports Darts panel reflect on Raymond van Barneveld's shock exit in the first round of the World Darts Championship, which ended his incredible career

For Barney, the epitaph will not be a 3-1 first round defeat to Darin Young, even the words seems strange for such an all-conquering force of nature that Barney was at his very best. It will be much more.

A little nervous, to be expected, but with a smile and a deep breath he drank in the chorus of 'Barney Army' and played his role to great effect, but then the action began and the malaise he has been unable to shrug off for the past few years could not be removed.

In the end, after a couple of rounds too many, the fight went out of Barney. But not without a lifetime in darts that altered the face of the sport.

Raymond van Barneveld talks us through his greatest game as he beat Phil Taylor in the final of the 2007 World Championship

Only the great Taylor can better Barney's world-title count and only a couple of days ago The Power pointed to Barney's arrival, and that 2007 world final victory as the catalyst to go away and ensure it never happened again.

A conveyer belt of Dutch darting talent follows behind - ironically enough it will fall to protegee Jeffrey de Zwaan to take on Barney's conqueror Young on Tuesday night.

You only need to see the sea of 'oranje' in Rotterdam in his final Premier League match earlier this year to know how much he means to his country. The World Series of Darts finals were held in Amsterdam this year, seven tournaments will be held in the Netherlands in 2020 and there's an argument the European Tour was born because of Barney.

In his last World Darts Championship the Alexandra Palace crowd gave Raymond van Barneveld a special reception during his walk-on

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'It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.'

For a man who walks on as 'Eye of the Tiger' blares around arenas across the globe and is a song most closely associated with the silver screen's most famous boxer, it is a well-worn fighting analogy that rings true.

The press conference that greeted his crossover from the BDO to the PDC and the Premier League in 2006.

Colin Lloyd and Wayne Mardle talk very candidly about knowing when to quit and there may come a time when Barney thinks he went one, two, maybe even three years too long.

At this year's World Championship 28 nations are represented, more than ever before and that includes 11 Dutchmen, a tally second only to England in terms of participants

In time - once the rawness of Saturday night at Alexandra Palace subsides - Barney should, despite his protestations, look back on a legendary career with great pride.

Asked in the press conference as to whether announcing a year in advance that he was to be quitting at this tournament he admitted, 'maybe I put too much pressure on myself.'

An emotional Raymond van Barneveld reflects on his shock exit in his final appearance at the World Darts Championship.

Standing in front of Sky Sports' Rod Studd and then in front of the massed media ranks, Barney looked empty, like everything had finally taken his toll and that perhaps offers some explanation for the withering assessment of his career he offered of not being good enough.

Michael van Gerwen dominates the sport because of the trail blazed by Van Barneveld and it's still Barney's walk-ons, finishes and victories that draw the biggest cheers from Dutch fans.

In contrast Barney's great rival Phil Taylor was always able to take the emotion of the situation, it is what made him one of sport's greatest winners, but for Barney it wasn't to be, even in the tournament that made him a legend.

It's understandable. Barney has always been a man that needed the emotion to bring out the very best of him on stage and the love he has felt from the crowd meant passion, tears and impulse were part of his great appeal.

The Worlds always seemed to stir the beast in Barney, until last year he had reached at least the last eight in four successive years, but just weeks after his announcement that 2019 was to be his final year as a professional, he fell to a second-round defeat to Darius Labanauskas at last year's tournament and then this year's disappointment.

It didn't. Taylor claimed three more world crowns and Barney none. There have been titles since that memorable night at the Circus Tavern. Four 'major' individual titles and four World Cups for the Netherlands.

The orange 180 cards from the tournament sponsors were laid out, and the scene was set for the start of Barney's glorious finale. Bumping into Barney as he arrived, the great Dutchman looked in good spirits, watching on from the media viewing area by the side of the oche as the spotlights glowed, he emerged for the walk-on with a relaxed smile on his face.

The great doyen of Dutch darts is a five-time world champion, but 'was' is the crucial word. It's been more than five years since Van Barneveld won anything of note and, despite flashes, the abilities have been on the wane since that 2014 Premier League win.

It proved to be an emotional moment for Raymond van Barneveld in Rotterdam, as the Dutchman took part in his final Premier league entrance