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Revitalized Raymond van Barneveld focused on Premier League top four after flirting with retirement

Barney celebrates victory over MVG (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Raymond van Barneveld has revealed he came close to calling time on his darting career after his exit in the UK Open, but admits his recent Premier League performances have re-ignited the fire.

The five-time World Champion posted a heartfelt message to his supporters on Facebook following his defeat to Peter Wright in Minehead earlier this month, suggesting he was contemplating imminent retirement from the sport.

Van Barneveld, who celebrates his 50th birthday in April, has since gone on to defeat Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen in the Premier League, and says those performances persuaded him to continue challenging for glory.

"Three weeks ago when I lost in the UK Open, I felt gutted," Van Barneveld told Live Darts. "I was questioning what I was doing, being abroad all the time and away from my grandchildren.

"Then all of a sudden I'm beating the world number one and two and I'm third in the Premier League - that's how it goes.

"Luckily for me we have FaceTime so I can see my grandchildren while I'm away and that's enough for me, I can draw energy from that.

"I feel happy now, maybe because of three weeks ago. I feel more energised and proud of myself than ever."

Van Barneveld ended Van Gerwen's record 44-match unbeaten run in televised competition courtesy of a superb 7-5 victory in Manchester last Thursday - a result which lifted him back into the all-important top four in the table.

That triumph came just seven days after Barney had delighted his home crowd in Rotterdam by brushing aside Anderson 7-2, and the proud Dutchman now believes he is back on track.

"Michael is the best player in the world at the moment and if you can beat him, that's fantastic," he added. "It's up to me to show the world he's still beatable.

"It's all about belief. I dropped down to seventh before I went on stage in Manchester and there was an immense pressure on my shoulders.

"You don't just want to survive Judgement Night, you want to go further and make the top four, not only for the money, but to prove to the world you're still there.

"I'm back in the top eight in the rankings and the top four in the Premier League and I'm really proud of that.

"Everyone knows I'm hard on myself but over the past two weeks I've made myself proud with my performances and that creates belief. If you believe then anything is possible.

"This week I have James Wade but there's still the same pressure are there would be if I was playing Phil, Michael or Gary. Every game now is so important if I want to make the top four."


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Revitalized Raymond van Barneveld focused on Premier League top four after flirting with retirement

Raymond van Barneveld has revealed he came close to calling time on his darting career after his exit in the UK Open, but admits his recent Premier League performances have re-ignited the fire.

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